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A Year of Adventure in Aspen

Rotary+exchange+student%2C+Adriana+Romeo+proudly+holds+up+the+flag+of+Spain.+
Rotary exchange student, Adriana Romeo proudly holds up the flag of Spain.

Rotary exchange student, Adriana Romeo proudly holds up the flag of Spain.

Photo courtesy of Adriana Romeo

Photo courtesy of Adriana Romeo

Rotary exchange student, Adriana Romeo proudly holds up the flag of Spain.

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Last fall Aspen students bid farewell to a few good friends who went to study in places across the globe, but they also welcomed two students from France and Spain.

Elliot Weber is visiting from Chamonix, France.

“ I came here because I’m friends with Ozzy [Benson], and because I wanted to leave Chamonix,” Weber said.

Chamonix is notably similar to Aspen, known for its rad skiing, and stunning views. Weber dove head first into all of Aspen’s athletic offerings.

“I played hockey, and football.” Weber laughs before saying “I tried to play lacrosse.” Weber notes that sports in America are different than in France.

“The high school is different here,”Weber said. “You have hockey you play for the highschool, and when you play there are lots of people. In Chamonix you play for your club team.” 

Weber says he hasn’t been homesick, and some of his family came to visit him not too long ago.

Adriana Romeo is visiting from Madrid, Spain through the Rotary Youth Exchange, and by the time she returns she will have been in Aspen for 10 months.

“I came here on Aug. 15, and I have stayed with three host families” Romeo said. I was with the first [host family] for almost four months and the other two for three months.” 

While in America, Romeo has gotten a chance to experience a culture very different from her own. Ranging from a different style of classes to people who wear socks with sandals. She has taken it all in stride, laughing at herself quite often.

“When I first came here I didn’t understand the showers and I was afraid to ask how to use them, so I took cold showers for a week,” Ardiana laughed.

The biggest difference for her though was the distance between people when they first meet.

“I come from a country where you don’t have much personal space, and you kiss people on the cheeks the first time you meet,” Romeo explained. “When you come here everyone is a little apart from each other,” 

While in America, she has also had the opportunity to take some very cool classes that she wouldn’t have taken otherwise.

“OAM (oceanography, astronomy, and meteorology) is something I wouldn’t study in Spain, and I like that you have things like American Literature and US History, in Spain it’s always global,” Romeo said.

She says that she appreciates you can choose many of your classes depending on what you want to study.

In regards to American food Romeo named a few favorites.

“I like mac and cheese, which I had never tried that before, also real Apple Pie from Bonnie’s Restaurant on Aspen Mountain,” Romeo added.

English is a very difficult language to learn, but Romeo has picked it up very quickly and credits many of her teachers for their help with her learning process.

“They put subtitles on for movies, explain things to me on tests, and help me with my note taking,” Romeo said.  

Like Weber, Romeo explored Aspen’s athletic offerings through the dance team. She also took advantage of the mountains in our backyard and hit the slopes.

“I used to ski in Spain but here I decided to snowboard and I love it so much I don’t think I will want to stop snowboarding,” Romeo said.  

When asked if there was anywhere else in the US she really wanted to visit, she articulated how much she enjoyed just being in Colorado.

“I love Colorado, I just love the all the places and the hikes,” Romeo said. “I love the natural parts, and of course the people.” 

Both Weber and Romeo will return to Europe over the summer, and they will take home memories of the Rocky Mountains and their friends from AHS, but they both plan on returning to visit and explore new places.

Photo Courtesy of Sonya Benson
Weber (left) with one of his host students (right), AHS Freshman, Ozzy Benson.

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