Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Student Exchange Program a Family Affair That Promotes Growth What Started with One Chilean Student's Visit Became a Tradition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Student Exchange Program a Family Affair That Promotes Growth What Started with One Chilean Student's Visit Became a Tradition

Article excerpt

Carlos Arroyo Lagos came to the United States in 1986 as an 18- year-old high school student and stayed with the Carbo family in Mars. Nearly 30 years later, the family is still close to Carlos, and Sharon Storch, Carlos' American "sister" during his Mars visit, and her family in Lower Burrell served as a host family for his son, Carlitos. This semester, Abby Storch, Sharon's 17-year-old daughter, is staying with Carlos and his extended family while she studies in Chile.

"This has been such a great opportunity for all of us. He truly is a brother to us," Mrs. Storch said.

The story started when Mr. Arroyo Lagos came to study and live with the Carbos. After spending a year as a student at Mars High School and Carbo family member, he kept in touch with them when he returned to his home in Santiago, Chile.

"That was back when it was harder to do - there really wasn't email, the Internet and Facebook," Mrs. Storch said.

Mr. Arroyo Lagos said in an email from his home in Chile, "It was a great experience. I had such a nice family and they always treated me as a real son. That year made me grow a lot in different ways."

Although he remained close to the Carbos, Mr. Arroyo Lagos didn't return to the U.S. for 10 years.

"My mom had gone to Chile to see him graduate from medical school, but other than that, none of us saw him," Mrs. Storch said.

After his initial visit, Mr. Arroyo Lagos has continued coming every three to five years to visit his American family.

"Since I always felt like a real son, I always kept in touch, and every time I went back to the States I visited them," Mr. Arroyo Lagos said.

During a visit in 2004, he brought his son, Carlitos.

"He was in fourth grade and couldn't even speak English. He was darling," Mrs. Storch said.

In 2010, Mr. Arroyo Lagos asked his American sister if she would host Carlitos for a semester so he could study in the U.S.

"I wanted to say 'yes' right away, but it was a family decision. My husband had never been part of a foreign exchange student program and we had two children," she said.

The whole family which included Abby and Zach, now 24, enthusiastically welcomed the young man to their home where he studied at Burrell High School for a semester.

"We all drove to the airport on Dec. 23 and picked him up. It was beautiful from beginning to end," Mrs. Storch said.

While in the U.S., Carlitos joined the rugby team and his mother, Ximena Molina, and his stepfather and two young siblings came to visit Disneyworld.

They also traveled to see him play in a tournament in Philadelphia.

"We were eating dinner with them when his mother asked if Abby would want to live with them and study in Chile," Mrs. Storch said.

As the family thought about the idea, Mr. Arroyo Lagos also volunteered to host Abby as did his brother, Juan. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.