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The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

The Columbus School News Portal

The Discoverer

Studying Abroad as a TCS Student: Struggles, Accomplishments, Expectations and Reality


Being an exchange student is not common at The Columbus School. Luna Cuartas, a 17-year-old 11th-grade student at TCS, embarked on a journey to study abroad for the 2024-2025 school year, living with a host family in Vancouver, Canada. Transitioning to a new school marks the start of an exciting and transformative journey for Luna.

Over the next six months, Luna has set ambitious goals for personal development. She aims to enhance her social skills, forging new friendships with students from diverse backgrounds, and is equally committed to academic progress.

“I am excited for this experience as it offers a different lifestyle from the monotony of Medellin. I anticipate engaging in various activities to step out of my comfort zone. Additionally, I expect the teaching methods at TCS to be distinct, resembling those of college. I look forward to adapting to new learning styles and meeting people from around the world,” Luna expressed.

Excitement and hope accompany Luna’s extracurricular pursuits, notably the revival of volleyball. This sport serves as a comforting link to familiar routines from her childhood and presents a significant opportunity to form new friendships.

“I am thrilled to resume playing volleyball for the next six months. It’s a significant step for me as I return to a sport I love. Playing volleyball not only facilitates making friends but also provides a sense of security, connecting me to TCS and Colombia,” Luna shared.

Navigating language differences has proven less challenging than expected for Luna, given her mastery of English as a second language at TCS. However, she encounters difficulties adjusting to cultural differences, particularly in social interactions, where she is accustomed to warmth and inclusivity.

“People here seem more independent, which I find overwhelming. The lack of social niceties contrasts with my experience in Colombia, where people prioritize relationships. Adapting to this new social landscape is a challenge,” Luna observed.

Moving to Canada necessitated significant adjustments to Luna’s daily routine. Despite initial challenges, she embraced change, adopting a healthier lifestyle with morning gym sessions and a balanced schedule. While transitioning from her vibrant weekend routines in Medellin was tough, Luna found joy in exploring alternative activities and remains connected with loved ones through FaceTime.

“My daily routine underwent significant changes. While it was challenging to break habits established in Medellin, I prioritized health and balanced activities. Although I miss the vibrant weekends in Medellin, I’ve adapted to a more relaxed pace and cherish moments connecting with friends and family through FaceTime,” Luna reflected.

As Luna adapts to her new environment, she anticipates encountering cultural and linguistic challenges. However, with perseverance and adaptation, she aims to integrate into the community, fostering meaningful connections with her peers. Through this experience, Luna anticipates personal growth and increased confidence as she prepares for the next chapter of her life.