Rosenmiller family gains temporary Spanish member

Democrat photo / David A. Wilson
Alejandra Martin, an exchange student from Madrid, Spain, center, is, for the month of July, a member of the family of the Rosenmillers. In the photo, from left, are Bryce Rosenmiller, Louisa Rosenmiller, Martin, Lauren Rosenmiller and Bruce.
Known as Ale (Allie), Martin (Marteen) is a 16-year-old who hails from Madrid, Spain, and will be in the United States until July 31.

Democrat photo / David A. Wilson Alejandra Martin, an exchange student from Madrid, Spain, center, is, for the month of July, a member of the family of the Rosenmillers. In the photo, from left, are Bryce Rosenmiller, Louisa Rosenmiller, Martin, Lauren Rosenmiller and Bruce. Known as Ale (Allie), Martin (Marteen) is a 16-year-old who hails from Madrid, Spain, and will be in the United States until July 31. Photo by David Wilson.

By DAVID A. WILSON

Democrat Staff

Arriving from across the sea on June 26, Alejandra Martin has joined the family of Bruce and Louisa Rosenmiller and their children, Lauren, 15, and Bryce, 12, for a five-week visit.

Known as Ale (Allie), Martin (Marteen) is a 16-year-old who hails from Madrid, Spain, and will be in the United States until July 31.

The opportunity for Ale and the Rosenmillers was arranged through Intercultural Student Experiences (ISE). It is a nonprofit organization which has provided "global learning experiences" for students since 1972. Many students from abroad have enjoyed exciting, enriching, and safe travel and family stay experiences in the U.S. and many American students have done the same abroad. The organization may be contacted via internet at www.isemn.org.

It is not simply an accident that Ale is visiting a family with a teen daughter, 15-year-old Lauren. ISE, through applications filled out by the student and the host families, attempt to find a match for interests with a family of a student of about the same age and the same sex.

Although hosting a student was a new experience for the Rosenmillers, Louisa said she favored it because her family hosted a French teenager when she was a teenager.

Since many of Ale's classes are in English, her English is improving which was at least part of the reason for the trip.

After the student and host family are matched, they begin corresponding via email. As a result, the teens become on-line friends before ever meeting.

For Ale and the Rosenmillers, the match has worked well. She commented that the United States is both like it is in movies and not quite. She said she was surprised at how wide open everything is how spread out the 4,000 people in the city of California are. In Madrid, 4,000 people would occupy only a few blocks.

Spain, she explained, is about twice the size of the state of Oregon. The population of 43 million, however, is more than 11 times Oregon's population.

She also spoke of how big everything is, such as shopping malls, stores and entertainment areas.

Ale arrived on June 26, after a nine-hour flight from Spain to Charlotte, N.C. She was only out of school four days. The few weeks since have been filled with a wide range of activities. Some were old, some are new.

They've been swimming in Jefferson City and Eldon, horseback riding, ATV riding, went to baseball games in which Bryce was playing, sand volleyball games in which Lauren was playing, fireworks on Independence Day and a barbecue with another family.

Ale and Lauren helped out at St. Paul's Lutheran Vacation Bible School and, at the church, joined the Braille Committee in putting together Braille books. They've been on a float trip on the Big Piney River with a church youth group from Trinity Lutheran, Russellville, sang with a youth choir at that church and spent a day at Six Flags.

She's been to a Boy Scout meeting with Bryce, shopping in the Columbia Mall, a monster truck show in Grain Valley and a tractor pull in Tipton.

There are nearly 30 students in the group, with seven in the area around Jefferson City. She and the other area Spanish students toured the state capital in Jefferson City, including going to the top and viewing the outside and heard from a state senator. They went out for frozen yogurt at Yo Yum, tie-dyed shirts, went ice block sledding (the participants get on a block of ice and slide down a grassy slope).

The entire group visited the St. Louis Arch, had a picnic on the park grounds beneath it and visited the City Museum. They also were pleased to have the experience of trying a food item which is not available in France — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The ISE students get together each week and discuss cultural differences and the journal entries they make.

Discussing differences, Ale commented on how green it was here when she arrived. She said Spain is always brown and dry in the summer. She was assured it is not always green here in the summer. In fact last year, all the vegetation was dry, brown and crunchy.

Ale said most of the American restaurant chains are found in Spain. One exception is Sonic, which could be a problem in Spain because of the size and number of cars and the roadways. There are plenty of scooters.

In Madrid, the age for a scooter licenses is 16. For an auto drivers license, it's 18.

School in Spain is different than in the U.S. Students must begin school at age two or three, depending on when their birthday falls. At 16, she is going to go into year 12. Then there will be two more years of essentially college prep classes before going to a university. She studied at a British school in Spain and all classes were in English until she was 14. Since she is planning for university study, all her classes are in Spanish except for the English and French classes.

Before determining if university is a possibility, or what they can study, the student has to take at least four exams. Ale spoke of wanting to be an engineer, and when asked what kind of engineer, she expressed an interest in space, with the idea of becoming an astronaut.

Ale leaves on July 31. She may be back in the future. She said that since Spain doesn't have astronauts, someday she could be back in the U.S. at N.A.S.A.

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