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?Sports, Pages 8-11
Stranger In A Strange Land
Sports, Interest In Others Ease Colombian Student's Exchanqe
BY SUSAN USHER different culture, to live in a home with stepparents, to where conversations between a father and a son may be Alvaro attended a middle-class public sch3W? his
has all the moves on the soccer Held or the share with them new ideas; to attend school and to come just a 'Bye, I'm going ouL'" younger sister is enrolled in a private girls' school and
1 Bdance floor, converses with adults with ease, back home more mature, more responsible and with a Other differences were also surprises. In Bogota, his litde brother in a private boys'school.
? likes cars and people, and finds his classes a clear criteria to face the university years expecting me." mass transportation means residents can go anywhere While in the United States, Alvaro is experiencing as
Ww/.ffHe's an all-around guy?with a difference. He also came with the idea of being a good ambas- and don't need a car. "Not like here; they have this big much of the country as he can. "He's been everywhere,"
Alvaro German Villa, or Al, as fellow students call sador for Colombian youth, "to let the new people parking lot," he says, gesturing toward the outside of the said Tubb, his host parent "We try to go someplace
him, comes from Bogota, a city of 6.5 million people, around me learn who the Colombian youth is, its aim for school. Alvaro relies on his host "Mom" and classmates every weekend." He's also been to New York to visit
the capital of Columbia, to rural Brunswick County, progress, happy, healthy in all its ways, its love for for transportation. cousins he'd never met before, to Cocoa Beach and
population 55,000 perhaps; from a closc-knit family of sports and free of vice," he wrote. "I would like to show School has been a new experience as well. He was ac- Melbourne, Fla., with Tubb's fiance. Bill, and on shorter
six with a live-in house
keeper, to quiet host IB 1 ??
nuuscnoia 01 one, west
Brunswick High School
math teacher Susan Tubb
He's one of two
American Field Service ex
change students at West
For Alvaro, joining the
West Brunswick High
School soccer team and
now the tennis team, has
helped smooth the way,
making acceptance easier
by both fellow students
and the community at
large. "People know me
because I played soccer,"
Alvaro's father, German,
is a civil engineer who
manages a proprietary con
struction company. His
mother. Carmen, is a
homemaker. A1 has two
sisters. Pilar, 18, who was
an exchange student last
year in the United States,
and Liliana, 15, who hopes
to come to America as an
exchange student later.
There's also a younger
brother, Carlos, 8.
If he seems older and
more mature than many
students at West
Brunswick, it may because
he is. Alvaro graduated
from high school (11
grades) in Bogota in 1991
and went to college a se
mester before being placed
by AFS. When he returns
to Colombia in July he will
begin the second semester
of what will be five years
of college studies for a de
gree in civil engineering?
like his dad and his older
As an cxchanpc student staff photo by susan usher
Villa gets to see the United COLOMBIAN EXCHANGE STUDENT Alvaro "Al" Villa and his host "mom," Susan Tubb, at the home overlooking iMckwood Folly River at
States, Brunswick County Varnamtown they've shared this school year. Alvaro will remain here until July, when he will return to Boeota.
Alvaro s aiso tried "local"
activities, such as hunting
and crabbing. He likes hav
ing the bcach closer by; in
Bogota it was 16 hours to the
He's managed the many
adjustments of being a
stranger in a strange land
quite well, building his
English language skills in
the process and carving
friendships and memories
that will last his lifetime.
However, Alvaro isn't the
only person who had adjust
ments to make this year.
Having an exchange student
in the house has meant a few
changes for Tubb, who had
become accustomed to her
privacy as a single woman.
"But the biggest adjust
ment is now having to cook
every meal or make sure he
gets a meal," said Tubb. "I
wanted him to experience as
much American food as pos
Eating more, and more
regularly, has made a few
other differences, she claims.
"We've joined the gym to
She's getting a crash
course in parenting, which
for most people begins with
an infant, but for her with an
adolescent. Alvaro had only
been in the house a few days
before he called down the
stairway, "Good night.
Tubb claims, "I don't
know how to be a mom yet,"
but the two have developed a
They're mostly good friends
who enjoy each other's com
pany. They've traveled to
gether, laughed and worried
and worshiped together, and
from their windows over
looking Lockwood Follv
and West Brunswick through different, though friendly
One of the things that has surprised Alvaro most is lo
cal students' lack of interest in being an exchange stu
"Most people here aren't too interested in going any
where else," he said. 'They think this is the best place.
In our country, everybody wants to go to another coun
try (as an exchange student) for the experience."
Why volunteer to spend a year in a strange country?
On his AFS application, Alvaro wrote, "1 would like
to experience a new way of living by myself away from
my home, to make decisions in a different environment,
to evaluate and 'valorate' my family. To leam about a
our cullurc, way of living and our economical develop
Alvaro's done everything he set out to do and more.
Here he's found some things the same, like the avail
ability of fast food restaurants; others quite different,
such as the parties young people auend and relationships
with their families.
In his past experience "people have a good time and
dance at a party; here people have no fun." And while
there are no alcoholic beverage control regulations in
Colombia, "there are not alcoholics like here."
"In my country the family is much closer. We spend a
lot of time together," he says. "It's not like it is here
customed to high school students remaining in the same
classroom all day, a college-type class schedule, and
teachers changing rooms. More grade levels are con
tained in the same school and students are grouped as a
class when they enter school and remain together in en
suing years. "That's really close," he said of the bonds
that develop as a result.
He finds school here "much easier" than in heavily
industrialized Bogota, where his six years of English,
two years of physics, two years of chemistry and one
year of geometry were part of the standard curriculum at
In Bogota, families have a choice of sending their
children to slate or Catholic parochial schools. While
River, watched the winds and the tides rise during the
March 13 winter storm as they baked a ham and chili in
The two have only come close once to having a real
argument. That was when Tubb heard early morning
noises and thought Alvaro had missed his curfew and
stayed out all night. She didn't speak to him most of that
day and wasn't sure what to say; meanwhile he had no
idea what was wrong and was hesitant to ask. Any
mother can imagine Tubb's relief when a neighbor men
tioned seeing Alvaro come in the previous night!
"He's different; he's a lot of fun," she says. "We've
decided we're both going to cry in July. And when Bill
and 1 get married, he's going to give me away."
Names Six Ambassadors For 1993-94
Six Ambassadors have been cho
sen by Brunswick Community Col
lege for the 1993-94 school year.
They are Jan Irene Carlton, an
administrative office technology
student from Supply; Sue Madison,
a general education student from
Shalloue; Dwane R. "Rusty" Mit
chiner Jr., an electronics engineer
ing student from Bolivia; Kathcrine
V. Graham, an administrative office
technology student from Bolton;
Angela L. Rattley, an administra
tive office technology student from
Leland; and Thelma Boyer, a cos
metology student from Wilmington;
With the support of the Bruns
wick Community College Foun
dation, the program was expanded
this year to include six instead of
Ambassadors serve the college in
a variety of public relations assign
ments, as campus tour guides, ush
ers for special events, speaking to
civic groups and participating in pa
rades. Candidates are nominated by
faculty and staff, and screened for
grades and other factors. Finalists
are selected on the hasis of an essay
in which nominees describe why
they want to become a BCC Am
bassador and interviewed by a se
lection committee which maikes the
Once chosen, ambassadors are
expected to log three to five hours a
week in service to either the college
or the community while maintain
BCC PHOTO BY ANNE MARIE BELLAMY
BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY COLIJiGE Ambassadors for 1993 are (from left) Dwane R. "Rusty" Mitchiner Jr., Kaiherine V.
Graham, Angela L. Rattley, Thelma Boyer, Jan I. Carlton and Sue Madison.
ing a 3.0 gradepoint average, at
tending at least 75 percent of all
classes, and meeting weekly with
their advisor. Resource Devel
opment Officer Glenn Barefoot.
They receive specialized training
in public speaking, personal devel
opment and leadership, a merit
scholarship from the BCC Foun
dation and a special wardrobe con
sisting of a distinctive navy blazer.
polo shirt, lie, and skirt or pants.
A dean's list student, Carlton is
active in the Student Government
Association and National Voca
tional-Technical Honor Society at
BCC. After earning her administra
tive office technology degree, she is
considering continuing her eduction
in medical records technology or
pursuing a carccr working with
Madison served on BCC's real
estate program advisory board in
1991-92, and serves as Sunday
School superintendent and on the
administrative council of Seaside
United Methodist Church. She
plans to transfer to Cameron Bus
iness School at the University of
North Carolina at Wilmington to
major in accounting.
Mitchiner has served on the BCC
audiovisual projcct team as well as
representing electronics engineer
ing curriculum students as an SGA
Senator. He is a member of the
National Vocational-Technical Hon
or Society, works full-time for
Lowe's of Southport, and is an
American Red Cross volunteer. He
has worked with mentally and phy
sically handicapped individuals as a
rehabilitation facilitator and is a
petty officer third class in the U.S.
Naval Reserves, SeaBee Battalion.
His goals include completing a
real estate course at BCC and ob
taining a North Carolina real estate
sales license, and graduating from
the electronics engineering technol
Graham is a dean's list student
and a member of the National Vo
cational-Technical Honor Society
who enjoys getting involved with
others. She wants to pursue a career
in the medical field after earning
her associate degree.
Rattley plays softball and likes to
spend time with children.
Boyer was coordinator for a
fashion show and hair competition
staged by the cosmetology depart
ment serves as South Atlantic re
gional vice president, Oakwood
College National Alumni Associa
tion; member, board of directors for
My Brother's Keeper; and is active
in the Seventh Day Adventist
Church as a hospitality chairperson,
personal ministries assistant leader,
deaconess and Sunday School tea
She wants to open a five-chair
salon, then return to BCC's cosme
tology instructor training program,
and later open a larger salon and
Brunswick Community College
is one of 20 of the state's communi
ty colleges with an ambassador pro