From Puebla City to Seward


Natalia Garcia Salce is one of the foreign exchange students here in Seward High School. She comes from Puebla City in Mexico. She didn’t expect Alaska to be the state where she would spend her exchange year. She said, “I was so excited when I found out, though. I couldn’t wait to experience a totally different environment.’ Her home city is significantly different from Seward; she comes from a big city. When asked what made it so different from home, she answered, “We don’t get to be that close to nature everyday where I live, so we don’t really do a lot of hiking or outdoor activities.” 

Another big difference and change Natalia mentioned was the school. Back in Puebla, she attended a Catholic private school, where they got a lot more different rules than the ones applied in Seward High School. “We had to wear uniforms, and they were so strict about any accessories we could wear.” When asked about the difficulty of the classes, she said, “It was hard. We had a lot of homework and projects assigned for each subject, and most of them were teamworks, which sometimes made them even harder.” She mentioned that her classes were all assigned to everyone for the school year: “We had 13 different classes each year.” 

When asked about sports at school, she said, “We do have school teams for many sports, but they are not as encouraged as they are here. Many kids that want to practice a sport go to different academies or gyms to practice them.” She mentioned she really liked the way they encourage sports here. “It is fun to be part of an extracurricular activity that is part of your school.” 

This year, she joined Seward’s cross-country team. “I wasn’t really sure about it, but I wanted to try something different and I really enjoyed being part of the team.” She was also part of the cheerleading team this winter, and she mentioned she really enjoyed it. Also, it was hard to not participate in her last games after re-injuring her knee during practice. 

Natalia mentioned that something she really likes from Seward is the people. “They are all so friendly and nice.” Surprisingly, she mentioned Seward became her home and that wouldn’t have been possible without all the people she has met. “They were all so welcoming from the very beginning, and it helped me adapt to the new culture in a much easier and fast way than I thought it would happen.” Natalia said how much she likes to spend time with her friends doing any activity around Seward.

“Going on exchange was probably the best decision I have ever made. It helped me to know myself more, and I found a second home full of people that became a really special part of my life. It will be hard saying goodbye to all these people and this place after a whole year of experiences.”