By Nafisa Hossain
Senior Lola de Marcos is different from many of the students at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) because she is an international transfer student.
De Marcos started attending GHCHS in the beginning of her junior year after her family immigrated from Spain to the United States in hopes of seeking more college and work opportunities. De Marcos was interested in the school because it offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) program which would allow her to go to colleges all over the world.
The IB program will help her pave the way for an international degree that can be used anywhere because most countries hold the American college education to a high standard. Although she misses certain aspects about home like the cuisine and other parts of the European culture that are uncommon here, such as the freedoms of teenagers to stay out late at night, the transition from Spain to the United States has been smooth.
“European life is vastly different from life here in California [in that] European life is centered around cities. Everyone could and would walk to where they wanted to go because in Europe everything is closer. Here, if I want to go somewhere, I have to drive,” de Marcos said.
Additionally, when de Marcos contrasts her lifestyles in Europe and America, she notices a sharp difference in the education systems, mostly in what each type of schooling chooses to prioritize.
In America, competition is very important in high school since it encourages students to set themselves apart from one another and strive for uniqueness whereas in Europe, everyone simply conforms to one set of interests. De Marcos appreciates how everyone tries to stand out and be a unique individual in America, since it has allowed her to meet many interesting people and make friends who all have varying interests and hobbies. She also values the wide diversity of religions and races within the student population.
“The IB program is really small so I get to share most of my classes with the same group of people which allowed me to get to know everyone very quickly. Everyone was also very open about foreign people and immigrants in general which made the transition easier,” de Marcos said.
As an international student, de Marcos understands the importance of diversity and even framed her Creativity Action Service project towards Agents of Diversity. De Marcos is especially concerned about the education that America offers to its international students.
“With Agents of Diversity, we want to improve the academic and non-academic resources of young immigrants in the San Fernando Valley, including the social, cultural, and linguistic obstacles that prevent first generation immigrants from achieving their full potential in any environment or institution,” de Marcos said.
De Marcos has learned a lot from her exposure to both Spanish and American cultures. These encounters have helped her understand the importance of diversity and have encouraged her to promote it every day.