Baizan Rojas adjusts to life at Kaneland

By Carolina Tovar, Reporter 

Heredia, Costa Rica, a providence of 86,000 inhabitants, is the home of senior Monica Baizan Rojas. Now her home is in the small town of Maple Park, population 4,364.

Size is the just the beginning of the differences between Baizan Rojas’ home and her adopted town, where she will spend 10 months as a foreign exchange student.

“[Heredia] has so many mountains. Here it’s all flat. Also, there is no physical contact [here] when saying hello or goodbye. No one kisses on the cheek, or hugs to greet each other,” Baizan Rojas said.

Though Baizan Rojas spoke Spanish in Costa Rica, she has learned English to come to the United States.

“[Monica is fitting in] very well. Her English is getting better. She’s eager to share about her country and participate,” Judy Fabrizius, family and consumer science teacher, said.

“Monica is a very good person, and she is very sweet,” junior Kaitlyn Munyon, a friend of Baizan Rojas, said.

“My mother always wanted to be a foreign exchange student,” Baizan Rojas said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to want to do it, but after the meeting, I loved [the idea of visiting the U.S.] and wanted to [go] right away.”

After being away from home for so long, Baizan Rojas said she misses her friends and family. The food is not so different, but the meal times are different. In Costa Rica, the big meal is during lunchtime, like the dinner here.

Despite the differences, Baizan Rojas is adjusting well to life at Kaneland.

“[Monica] is doing a great job in class. She’s quickly learning the American version of the games they play,” Tom Dillivan, P.E. teacher, said. “She has been working hard, having fun and the other students have accepted her.”