Exchange Students Join PVHS Campus Community


Indigo Christenson

Saez-Feria in her French classroom

Sophomore Marina Saez-Feria is from Barcelona, Spain and Senior Rebecca Della Monica is from Milan, Italy. They are the only two exchange students in Chico this year and are both attending PVHS. How are Saez-Feria and Della Monica’s experiences affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Saez-Feria has spent a lot of her time in America participating in extracurriculars to keep busy. She said, “I joined the tennis team and I’m really happy too because I have more friends.” She also recently won her first tennis match.

Saez-Feria shared that she wanted to become an exchange student here so she could improve her English. She arrived in August of last year and had to do online school along with the rest of PVHS students until October of 2020. She is staying in Chico, California until June 9th.

Saez-Feria said, “Online school was difficult because I had never sent stuff through email, and it was hard to adapt.” She also said “I feel that here it is more difficult to make friends since you have different people in every period. I feel that the subjects [in school] are not different at all, but in Spain, you can not choose what you want to take”.

Last year Saez-Feria was an exchange student in Toulouse, France. She loves to go to the gym every day before school, and she enjoys uploading to her YouTube channel called anirasaez. She shared that her favorite movie is Grease and that she enjoys her free time listening to “all kinds of music”. She said, “In Spain, I used to listen to Spanish music. Then I went to France, French music. Then I came here, [and] I listen to English music. I think my favorite is Spanish music.”

Junior Rebecca Della Monica (Indigo Christenson)

Now, Rebecca Della Monica from Milan, Italy. When asked why she decided to become an exchange student in America, Della Monica said, “I wanted to learn English better. That’s one thing. And then I wanted to live in a completely different place. I could just go to England to learn English but I prefer to come here because I don’t know… It’s completely different from Europe”.

She was able to choose America but not the exact state she would be living and attending classes in. As a part of her exchange process, Della Monica had to do a video presentation about herself explaining why she wanted to be an exchange student. She also provided pictures of herself for a host family to pick her to live with them.

Della Monica said, “I love going out with them [friends] and to picnics, thrifting or I don’t know just go out and my host family we go on hikes and stuff like that.” Especially during a pandemic, Della Monica is grateful for being able to spend time with friends and her host family.

Della Monica was in online school before she came to PV. She explained that PVHS is a much better fit because she can be more social, have more experiences, and make friends much easier. She also thinks it is easier for her to learn in person than being on the computer all day.

She arrived in January and will be staying in Chico until June 25th. She is hoping that she will be able to visit Oregon and more of California before she returns to Italy.

Della Monica also said, “I have one more year left in Italy because we have five years [of high school], so it doesn’t really count” when referring to the American diploma she will receive in June. She also has to go to school Monday through Saturday in Italy. In her opinion, American teachers are more friendly and more willing to help than teachers in Italy.

Michaela Golightly, Exchange Student Coordinator for North West Student Exchange supervises Della Monica and Saez-Feria during their stay. Students from PVHS can also travel abroad next year. To become an exchange student you will need to pay a fee and make a profile about yourself along with a video. The coordinator will help find a family that is a good fit for you.

Golightly said, “We have several different program lengths. We have students that come from August-June, January-June, or the calendar year from January-December.” Students interested in traveling or hosting can contact Golightly for more information.