Boonville High School (BHS) senior Estefany Bustamante moved to Boonville from Puebla, Mexico in August as a foreign exchange student. Throughout the past nine months, Bustamante has successfully learned English. During the BHS graduation held on Sunday, May 19, she gave a brief speech stating what she had learned and enjoyed here in the United States.
"First, I used strange sign language to communicate with my friend Noah, then I was taught English with the help of Mrs. Courtney and many other teachers and friends," Bustamante said.
BHS College Prep English teacher Mrs. Abby Courtney was in tears after Bustamante's speech.
"During Estefany's speech, I was so proud that tears poured out of me. I can't remember ever being so proud of a student. She was so brave throughout this whole adventure and she taught us as much as we taught her," Courtney said.
In her speech, Bustamante also talked about her experience seeing snow for the very first time.
"I was really excited to see snow but I never expected it to snow that much! It was so cold but it is something I will always remember," she said.
Moving from a city with a population of six million to rural community of Boonville with less than 9,000, it was quite the culture shock for Bustamante.
Bustamante shared the differences between the two countries and her opinions on them.
"In Mexico, not a lot of teenagers have cars but here in America, most of my friends I've methave their own vehicles. We usually just drive with older friends or use the metros in Mexico. Also, in Mexico, parents usually pay for the cost of college for their children; so I would trade the car for that any day! My favorite thing here is all the trees and land. In Puebla, there are so many buildings and noise, but here it is more peaceful and the trees are so beautiful," Bustamante said.
Now preparing to move back, Bustamante learns what a bitter-sweet moment feels like. Excited to fly back home on June 2, she is also sad to leave her new friends she's made here. Bustamante has been staying with her aunt and uncle Mariana and Pat Long along with her four younger cousins.
"I will miss all my friends and family here in Missouri but I plan on visiting Boonville again someday and my friends are more than welcome to come and visit me in Mexico," she said.
Next semester, Bustamante will attend Claustro de Sor Juana College in Mexico City, Mexico to study photography.