Foreign Summer

By: Sebastian Osterland, Piper King and Peyton Amlin

Summer is essential throughout any time of life, it’s where the memories are made. But could you imagine spending summer in a foreign country? For Guadalupe and Rayko Pustavrh, no imagination is needed.

Guadalupe (15) and Rayko (13) Pustavrh are Argentine exchange students from Mendoza in Federal Hocking Middle and High School. You might be confused on the “summer” part, and that is because our winter is actually summer in Argentina, and so they are visiting us on their summer break. They’ve been coming to FH for four years now, after meeting the former FH superintendent and being persuaded to come to southeastern Ohio. Previously they had been going to Florida when they would come to the States.

 “Our father met George Wood and offered for us to come here, and we’ve been (visiting) here ever since,” Guada said.

After years of attending FH, Rayko and Guadalupe have begun to notice clear differences and similarities in culture. Like our own in southeastern Ohio, the Argentines, especially around Mendoza are heavy into folk music, but a difference is that it is paired with a tap-dance called Malambo. They love food staples such as Empanadas (basically a meat pie) Asado (a fancy BBQ cooked on  an open fire), and Dulce de leche (a sort of caramel that is very sweet). Unlike the towns in southeastern Ohio, Rayko and Guadalupe live in a bustling city that is full of tourism. The main attractions are the hiking trails, hundreds of wineries, restaurants, parks, clubs, shopping, and more. Their city includes some of the highest mountains: the Aconcaguas.

Rayko plays basketball and Guadalupe plays volleyball, which are both popular sports around here, but Rayko also plays soccer, one of the biggest culture staples in Argentina and really any South American country. 

“It’s not an obsession, it’s a passion!”

Speaking of sports, unlike how FH has teams attached to the school, Rayko and Guadalupe have no such thing, and instead access such activities through clubs that have many sports teams, and that play all-year round without seasons. But that’s not the only difference between FH and San Jose de Calazans. In Mendoza they have no school buses, and instead are driven or use the public bus. 

There is a school-wide behavioral point system, where students start out at 25 points, and each violation causes them to lose points, and if they lose enough points, they have to have a meeting with the school authorities and can get kicked out. Instead of moving to different classes, they all stay in one room together, and it’s the teachers who move to each class. They also have school uniforms, which consist of a green polo shirt, gray pants and white or black shoes. They have no lunch at school, and there is a morning shift of students who come from 6 a.m. –  1:00 p.m. and leave for lunch at home, and then another shift of students who attend from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Speaking of meals, they eat a lot later, and dinner is typically at 10:00 p.m. That’s not surprising as almost everything in Argentina has something to do with family, friends and togetherness. Sundays are more relaxed and family orientated.

“Every Sunday is a time to get together with friends and family, and to eat, have fun and play games.”

Another tradition that is strong in Argentina is the 15th birthday celebration for females: the quinceañera. Guada had a big party and her friends showered her in a gross concoction of eggs, oil, vinegar, and toilet water at midnight on her 15th birthday. This is typical and then girls either have a big party or take a trip abroad.  

Rayko explained that the males in Argentina have a special celebration for their 18th birthday that involves dying hair a week before their birthday and then shaving their head on their 18th birthday. 

While Argentina is a lot different than the States, most changes here are welcome ones. They love our local chili. They also like our school sports, celebrities such as Lebron James for Rayko, and Luke Combs for Guadalupe. Both are planning on staying for a full year at FH during their junior year. So next time you think of summer, think of spending summer in a different country.

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