The Exchange

Featuring "The Fons" Alfonso Carrillo


Alfonso and Haley Ramer, his host mother

The crowded halls of Lewis Cass consist of individuals from different areas, with different stories, and different personalities. Everyone is unique in different ways. Some prefer to keep to themselves, while others want to be the center of attention. People may keep themselves busy by participating in sports, academic clubs and events, or expressing themselves through the arts. Individuals may have grown up and lived in Cass County their whole lives or grew up in different continents. Three interesting students at Lewis Cass experienced a major change in their lives and have traveled from all around the world to only end up in small-town Walton, Indiana.

The football team

Alfonso Ignacio Carrillo Benavides, a seventeen year old Rotary foreign exchange student from Chile, is one of these three special students. A rotary foreign exchange student differs from a typical foreign exchange student. In a rotary foreign exchange program, Alfonso explained that no one within the program, or is involved with the exchange, receives money. The whole point of rotary foreign exchange is so that foreign students can make connections and relationships with people from all over in the hopes of creating an interconnected world. 

Anyone can tell that Alfonso has adapted to the new environment and people extremely well. He displays a great amount of confidence and comfort when with new people and expresses himself through comedy, positivity, and his outgoing personality. Despite growing up speaking Spanish, Alfonso talks and jokes around with anyone and everyone fluently in English. All of this to say, he has a knack for being the highlight in any room or group of people. Because he talks to everyone and joined the football team, he had little trouble gaining friends. Alfonso says he is very grateful for how friendly and accepting the community is towards him and other foreign exchange students. 

In Chile, school is set up in a way that students only have three or four classes that alternate every other day, each being one hour and thirty minutes long. Alfonso enjoys the fast paced classes and school days in America. A class for only forty-five minutes seems very fast compared to an hour and a half. As I have stated, Alfonso was apart of the football team and is now on the wrestling team. He was shocked to learn that practices are everyday for two or two and a half hours. Even though the practices can

Alfonso and Ludwig

be very hard and overbearing, he appreciates the brotherhood within the sport. It is a family to say the least. 

High school allows an individual to grow and develop relationships and bonds. Many memorable moments are made that one will remember for the rest of his or her life. Alfonso has enjoyed spending his time with all of his friends, football team, and host family at Lewis Cass. His most memorable moment is the first win the JV football team achieved of the season. The team worked very hard and definitely earned the victorious satisfaction of winning. Alfonso also extremely enjoyed hanging and celebrating with friends and family after Friday night varsity games. 

Despite being in a different country, Alfonso’s personality and humor never dulled. However, do we actually know everything about him? Something that few people know is that Alfonso enjoys writing short stories and drawing comics in his free time. I am sure his outgoing personality is portrayed through his work. Ever since Alfonso watched Percy Jackson years ago, he has been crushing on lead actress Alexandra Daddario.

The United States has a different culture and unique things from Chile. Alfonso is intrigued by the American holiday, Thanksgiving, the restaurant Chick-Fil-A, and the show That 70’s Show. When asked, Alfonso even said he would name the title of a movie about him Fez in Indiana (Fez being a character on That 70’s Show). Additionally, if he had to describe himself in one word and be a certain animal, it would be “funny” and a fox. 

All in all, being a foreign exchange student

Cana, Alfonso, and Kyah

seems challenging but also very rewarding. To other future foreignexchange students, Alfonso advises to be very outgoing, no matter the situation. “Many things will suck during the exchange, but one will fall in love with the new people and places.”

 I cannot imagine how challenging and frightening being an exchange student must be. Alfonso seems as if he has no struggles at all and handles the new environment, people, school, classes, sports, and language with grace. Lewis Cass has accepted him with open arms and he has become a part of the community. Alfonso Carrillo, one of the three foreign exchange students of the 2019-2020 school year, will always have a home in Walton, Indiana. 

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