After having the Spanish exchange students with us at Cogswell College for 6 weeks, we were really sad to see them go! Before they left, we caught up with Marta Pena (MP), Cristobal de la Torre (CT), Juan Carlos Montero Díaz (JD) and Javier Ángel Nieto Moncó (JM) to ask about their experiences.
Rachael: Is this your first trip to the United States?
CT: Yes, this is the first time that I am in USA
JD: No, it’s my second trip
JM: Yes, it’s my first trip to United States. Really, it’s the first trip to United States of one member of my family!
Rachael: What are the biggest differences between studying in the US and Spain?
MP: The educational system. In Spain there is lots of theory that only get tested at the end of the year through long and tedious xams. In the US, everything seems to be more into practicing, homework and every-day efforts. Also the teachers… because the system is different, the teachers create a different atmosphere… more dynamic and practical.
CT: Studies here are more friendly, classes are so funny and [we get more] practice
JD: Here the classes are more practical, the teacher help you more and the computers are better
JM: I think that the biggest differences are that the classes are more practical here and the teachers are [less formal] than in Madrid. Another difference is the computers, because here are better.
Rachael: Did you have any expectations about what this experience would be like before you arrived?
MP: I expected what I got. I graduated in an American high school (in Belgium, Europe) called SHAPE American High School (I studied there for 3 years). I learned what the American system was all about, and I loved it from the first moment, so when I heard about Cogswell and my possibilities of coming here, my first thought was my past experience back at SHAPE High.
CT: Yes, but I expected to visit the Pixar Studios. I know that this visit at this place are more difficult but this is one of the most important experience that I want do here.
JD: I’ve done all that I think [I planned to do]
JM: I think all my expectations have been covered during the course. I learn more than I think before arrived.
Rachael: What is your favorite class? Why?
MP: Level design. It was the most dynamic and fun class for me… I think that a big part of that success was thanks to the teacher. Although I tend to like animation more than other stuff, but this time I can say that I learned so much from the other areas that I can’t be very sure anymore.
CT: My favourite class is level design because I never try this topic about game design, and teacher is so funny!
JD: Level Design because it’s very funny, interesting and has a lot of practice and the teacher is really good and funny.
JM: Level Design, because we do things that I like and I learn a lot of things that are going to be very useful in my future job. The teacher, Albert Chen, is a very good guy and I have learned a lot of things with him.
Rachael: Have you found any language barriers?
MP: Not really… I caught up on my English, which is part of what I expected by coming to the States.
JD: No, I’ve understood all
JM: The first week was more difficult because I never had to talk English all the days, but after I think I was able to overcome my barriers and it was easier for me speak English. Many times I don’t know how to say something or the exact word in English, but always I can find the way to say it and the people here always try to understand what I’m saying and it helps me a lot.
Rachael: What has been your favorite activity/place you have visited?
MP: Visiting Namco Bandai Games. We would have liked to visit Pixar’s studios, and one or two more places, since we got told by previous Spanish exchange students that they had the chance to do so. In terms of activities in general, I expected a few more… but we heard that the teacher who had all those contacts left the school, so I understand we just had bad luck.
CT: I only visit the Namco Inc.
JD: I thought I’m seeing Pixar but the course has been [good]
JM: I think I can’t choose only one thing because this summer is the best summer of my life. I love San Francisco, San José, the malls, the parks… We expected to see Pixar, Dreamworks and EA, and finally we can’t go, but removing it the rest of places/activities were perfect! And the people too!
Rachael: Thanks for visiting us! We hope you’re able to visit us again!
We were also able to catch up with their instructors.