Carina Shuber is a 16-year-old Brazilian exchange student who spent the last two weeks experiencing life in California.
Shuber entered the states through the Lions Club International Youth Exchange Program. Officially introduced in 1961, the four-week program promotes international understanding by helping youths between the ages of 16 and 22 travel abroad, according to Maricris Benitez, former president and current public relations specialist for Milpitas' Lions Club International.
Unlike other exchange programs, the Lions Club Youth Exchange Program doesn’t involve tourism, academics or employment, giving Shuber the opportunity to visit the numerous destinations that make Northern California unique.
Shuber has explored numerous cities and experienced new activities with with her buddy and host sister Shelby Tindall, 15, host parents Christina and Wayne Tindall, and their son Lucas, 17. Shuber even met Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves for a ceremonial exchange of pins.
Patch caught up with Shuber before she left Milpitas for Los Angeles, where she’ll be spending her last two weeks in the U.S. Check out what Shuber has to say about life in California, below.
Milpitas Patch: How did you become involved in the Lions Club Youth Exchange Program?
Carina Shuber: My sister did the exchange program in 2010 by our English school and she loved it, so I wanted to do it, too.
Patch: What are some of the most important things you've learned from your host family since you've been in the country?
Shuber: I learned a lot of vocabulary and I improved my English. I also learned that even though we are from different countries, we have similar habits and interests.
Patch: What similar habits and interests have you noticed?
Shuber: I think they have more in common than differences, the habits and interests are similar but there are some things we are not used to in Brazil. For example, leaving your shoes at the door when you enter the house.
Patch: Do you feel like having the support of Lions Club members made the transition from Brazil to the U.S. easier?
Shuber: Yes, it was easier because they have everything prepared for the exchange students and they have families that are already part of the club making it easier and safer.
Patch: What were some of your favorite things you've done in Milpitas, and other cities?
Shuber: I really liked visiting Sacramento and San Francisco and also doing some things that I am not used to in Brazil, like going camping, going to baseball games and going shopping in stores that we do not have in Brazil.
Patch: If a student was thinking of entering an exchange program like the one you went through, what advice would you give them?
Shuber: I would advise the person to not be afraid to speak when they arrive here because it is in that way that we learn to speak another language. Also, I would say that this is the best experience you can have in life and that the person will not regret it.