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Families saying ‘adios’ to Spanish students

August 28, 2010
A group of students from Spain have visited the Warren area, giving them insight into United States culture. Sheldon Follett said his family had difficulty understanding the student they hosted at first. After a couple of days, the family’s father said everyone knew what the others wanted. Dixie Follett said some families at her church had hosted students for a number of years. After thinking about it, the mother said she wanted to as well. “This young lady has become part of our family,” Dixie Follett said. Eating habits differ between cultures, Sheldon Follett said, as Spanish people eat healthier. Shelbi Follett, daughter of Sheldon and Dixie, said people in Spain often eat dinner around 10 p.m. According to Dixie Follett, people in Spain eat small breakfasts, large lunches and small dinners. However, she said her family followed United States patterns. Discover Pennsylvania International Coordinator Heather Espeso said her organization brought 14 students to the area this year. It marked the biggest group organizers have managed so far, she said, with the annual event now in its third year. Over a five-week period, Espeso said students and families have a good time. In Spain, she said most students live in cities so their trip to the area acquaints them with nature. As opposed to school-based exchanges, Espeso said her trips focus on family stays. They integrate themselves more, she said, instead of sitting in classes. Each year, Espeso said she and her husband, Luis bring the students to the United States. She said they were scheduled to return to Spain on Sunday. Andres Merino said he wanted to take the trip after his friend told him about the experience. In the past, he said he participated in a similar program in England. “The differences between here and Spain are interesting,” Merino said. In his country, Merino said people have music and television shows from the United States. For his host family, he said he made a compact disc of music from Spain. If anybody wants to participate in the program, they can contact Espeso at

Article Photos

Students and hosts
Participants in Discover Pennsylvania this year included: Cristina Cabezudo and the Hoffman family, Belen Asensio and the Benedict family, Cristina Sanchez and the Follett family, Andres Merino and the Madigan family, Pablo Arnaiz and the Johnson family, Alfonso Candau and the Huling family, Ismael Clary and the McIntyre family, Miriam Seco and the Krepps family, Sofia de la Torre and the Johnson family, Carlos Castedo and the Zona family, Cecilia Castedo and the Kelsey family, Nacho Garcia and the Hamrick family, Javier Iniguez de Onzono and the McIntyre family, Paula Martin and the Zimba family.



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