Argentinian smashing it at NPHS

Foreign exchange student making an impact

Beckett Allen, Staff Writer

Spending a year away from your family 6,000 miles away is something most students wouldn’t do, but senior Juan Zanguitu is up for the challenge.

Zanguitu, a native of Treinta de Agosto, Argentina, is here in North Platte with Rotary Youth Exchange, an international student exchange program. “They gave [me] the countries that were available,” Zanguitu said. “They go by priority, [and] my first option was the United States.”

One of Zanguitu’s main reasons for choosing the United States over some of the other nations was for his future career. “I want to work at Google, and I want to study data science,” Zanguitu said. “If you say you went a year away from your house to a country you didn’t know to meet new people, [they’ll] think ‘that guy is brave and won’t surrender.’”

As expected, there are negative international stereotypes of the United States, but that didn’t stop Zanguitu from wanting to come. “Some of the things you hear [are] fake,” Zanguitu said. “A stereotype is that [people] are cold, but it’s not true at all. All the people I’ve met [have] been so friendly with me, and I really appreciate it being in my spot of a foreign exchange student.”

One stereotype that Zanguitu thinks is true is that Americans don’t know much about geography. “I don’t think it’s the fault of the people, but it’s the fault of the education system,” he said. “They really encourage you to learn about your states and that’s it.”

Zanguitu is settling into North Platte High School, and is already competing in tennis, even getting the opportunity to play at a varsity duel in Scottsbluff. “I’m liking it, [it’s] my big source of friends,” Zanguitu said. “Our coaches are amazing, Dale Hall and John Lehmer [are] helping me a lot and I really appreciate it.”

“I’ve wanted to do this since I was 12, now I’m 17,” Zanguitu said, “I’m living the dream now.”