A month abroad in Oregon creates countless memories

Roger Hernandez, junior, prepares to return home to Costa Rica

A single month can make a large difference in one’s life – just four weeks has the opportunity to form lasting friendships, make memories and broaden horizons. Only a month ago Roger Hernandez, junior and exchange student at West Linn High School, was still at home in Costa Rica. Now as he prepares to leave this Sunday, Hernandez reflects on the time he spent here.

Adjusting to life in Oregon wasn’t too difficult for the seventeen year old, who had ten years of English experience before starting his exchange. “I already knew English before I came here, but I had to learn the slang,” Hernandez said.

“I was just saying to [a member of his host family] that I haven’t got better at English, he’s got better at understanding me!” he said, laughing.

During his time in Oregon, Hernandez has become especially close to his host brother, junior Andrew Nelson. The two often hang out, and Nelson helped Hernandez become familiar with the school and meet new people.

“My favorite thing we’ve done together was probably Winter Ball,” Nelson said. “Roger had two dates!”

Hernandez says that the USA is not too different from what he imagined, though he was over-prepared by the exchange program. “They said we would get offered sex and drugs like every day!” he said. “But that didn’t happen…except once at VooDoo doughnuts.”

In general, staying in West Linn has been an exciting time for him, despite the contrast of balmy Costa Rica to drizzly Oregon. There are major differences between home and West Linn, outside of just the beautiful weather. At home, Hernandez has to wear a strict uniform to school and stay with the same group of students in every class. Also, “We can’t hang out with friends as much there, because the driving age is 18. But the drinking age is 18 too!”

As his experience in the states comes to a close, Hernandez says he will miss all the friends and places he has come to know. But when asked if he could take anything back from Oregon to Costa Rica, he answered simply, “Burgerville. Definitely Burgerville.” Some things are just universal.