Fort Jackson employees ready for Brazilian exchange student
August 9, 2012
Fort Jackson, S.C. -- A Fort Jackson family is looking forward to the chance to introduce a foreign exchange student from Brazil to American culture, history and people.
Michael and Sheryl Garcia, who both work as civilians on Fort Jackson, along with their daughter, Meagan, 17, have agreed to take on the responsibility to be the host family for Lara Camara, 16, during the upcoming school year.
"I'm hoping that our ways of living have a positive impact on her life. I was reading the latest blog about the students who just left after being here for a year and how they viewed America prior to coming. Most said they were totally wrong about how they once perceived Americans," said Sheryl, who works with the Directorate of Public Works Engineering Division. "I'm hoping we aren't too boring for her and that she feels comfortable being at our home. We have always tried to make our guests feel welcome. She will be more like family, so I'm hoping she feels that way, too."
After speaking with Lara's family through Facebook, Sheryl said Lara is very excited to come to America. Sheryl has begun to find out what type of foods Lara likes and the types of chores she is responsible for while at home.
The Garcia family will take a trip to San Antonio with Lara to meet family members and visit historical sites. The family is also looking forward to taking her to the mountains in the winter so she can see snow for the very first time.
"It is so heartwarming to witness these fantastic teens become beloved members of their new families and begin lifelong friendships. They are so excited to immerse themselves in their new school, church and community," said Tricia Goss, Cultural Academic Student Exchange Midlands representative.
Lara is scheduled to attend Ridge View High School with Meagan beginning in August.
"Of course, we worry about her making new friends at school and if the language difference will be easy for her to adjust to. I also worry about how she will feel the first few weeks away from home," Sheryl said. "Her bio said she was very close to her mother and they do a lot of stuff together, so I may be a very busy person doing things with her. I want to show her as much as I can and teach her how to cook some foods that we like."
Goss said exchange students in the Midlands area will attend monthly social events with other CASE teens in the Midlands to provide the opportunity to compare notes and share their new experiences. Sheryl said she is excited to learn more about Lara and her family, and to get to know Lara better.
"I'm hoping that she can teach me to cook some of her favorite foods so when she gets homesick (and that) it will cheer her up. It will be bittersweet to meet her in August and know that in less than a year she will go back home," Sheryl said.