By Scott Bidroski
It took her 14 hours on a plane leaving her home country of Spain before arriving to her home for the next year in Clinton, Neb.
But for Arianda Vives it was all worth it.
Vives is a sophomore at Gordon-Rushville High School and is spending the year learning all about America and Sheridan County.
“I wanted to come to the United States and I did not care which location,” said Vives.
“I wanted to spend an American year because it so different from Spain,” she added.
Sheridan County is quite different from Vives’ home of the island of Majorca in Spain.
Majorca is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
To the tourist, Majorca is known for beach resorts, sheltered coves, limestone mountains, and Roman and Moorish remains.
The love to travel and desire to learn the English language better was the driving force for Vives to enroll in the program which is sponsored by International Fellowship, Inc.
The organization was established in 1952 and offers exchange student opportunities for secondary school students who wish to experience the adventure of living in a foreign land, learning about it’s people, traditions, and language.
Vives was selected by Clinton residents, Roy and Debra Johndreau, to spend the school year in their home.
She’s only been here about a week but the differences between life in Spain and the U.S. are exciting for Vives.
“The people are so different here; it is so more open-minded than Spain,” said Vives.
“Sports are quite different as well. We do not have American football, just soccer. I went to the football match here and I don’t understand anything about it but it was great. In Spain we don’t have that,” she added.
Vives is hopeful that her time spent in Sheridan County will help her with a very important part of her future plans; refining her English.
She notes that they learn English in Spain in a school setting but she really wants to improve that by learning how Americans speak it within their own culture.
“I like English and I really enjoy watching movies in English. But it’s just different from Spain when you’re here,” said Vives.
While this may seem like a crazy reason to travel halfway across the world, Vives has a very specific goal in mind when it comes to learning more about the language.
She notes that she is passionate about space and hopes someday to study Aerospace Engineering in college. The college that she wants to attend to study that subject is in Denmark and one of the primary languages spoken there is English. She hopes to continue learning more about the language to help her be more proficient in college.
But the trip is not all about studying and Arianda is excited for all aspects of her American year.
“I’m so excited to meet new people and do so many things,” said Vives.