Maya de Aristizabal Foti is a foreign exchange student in the Ayusa International non-profit organization program and has been attending Apache Junction High School. Learn more about Ayusa International at ayusa.org.
Name: My name is Maya de Aristizabal Foti and I’m an exchange student. I’m half Spaniard, half Italian.
Age: I’m age 15
Town/neighborhood: I came here Aug. 7 — one of the most exciting days of my life for sure — and I lived in Apache Junction until the day of my birthday at the end September when I moved to San Tan Valley but lucky me I’m still going to Apache Junction High School.
When and why I moved here: I was really interested to become an exchange student because all the experience and opportunities that could give and, of course, to improve my English.
What I like most about living here: I really like the school; the people there are really nice and I get to know a lot of people.
One of the things more difficult to get used to: Is the difference of times. Here everything is done earlier than what I’m used to. For example. I used to wake up at 7 to go to my school at 8.15 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. I arrived to lunch before 4 p.m. and we dinnered between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and we used to get to bed at 11 p.m. In the weekend I used to get appointments with my friends at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to come back home at 10 more or less. Could you imagine that? Even my host family says it is weird.
Also was nice to discover: my host family sees their sons almost daily even without living in their house; that they think family is important too.
My principal interests and hobbies: My principal interests are reading, painting/drawing and I really love the cinema and theater. I also like a lot to travel and discover new things; the trip I did to Disneyland was really fun.
What I like most about what I do: I am in the drama club at school. Talking about that, we are going to perform “Shrek the Musical” at 7 p.m. April 28-29. It would be cool to see you there.
The trait(s) I admire in others: Traits that inspire me are the confidence in themselves and kindness with others.
People who inspired me (and how): I was always inspired by my parents, the way they do things for the people they love, how they always helped me and my sister.
My guiding philosophy: “Do today what you may not do tomorrow” or “Don’t lose opportunities” but they are really similar. This philosophy helps a lot when I’m scared to do something but they make me remember I just have one life and I have to live it.
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