Long journey north lands in Frisco


provided by João Victor

Leaving Brazil, João Victor came to the United States for the 2021-2022 school year.

Rachel Kim, Staff Reporter

More than 4,000 miles away from his home country of Brazil, junior João Victor is participating in a foreign exchange program and is spending the school year in another hemisphere. 

“I came to America to experience something different,” Victor said. “I wanted to experience new sports, places, food, and more.”

I came to America to experience something different. I wanted to experience new sports, places, food, and more”

— Brazilian foreign exchange student João Victor

For senior Leonardo Lombardi, having another person his age living with him would be a new experience as he is an only child. 

“So, I am an only child, and in these past few years my parents have considered adopting,” Leonardo Lombardi said. “[And] hosting an exchange student was also put into the equation because we thought it would be a good experience.”

Staying with the Lombardi family, getting to the United States involved several steps. 

“The organization, Greenheart, made it very easy as far as the process,” host parent Bill Lombardi said. “[However], there is a long application you have to fill out, and you have to have an interview, and you have to get a background check. So, there is a lot of detail involved in getting approved.”

Besides the application process, the Lombardi family had to prepare themselves and their house to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. 

“The exchange student needs to feel comfortable that this is going to be a place where he will be able to do well and fit in,” Bill Lombardi said. “So, we wanted the house to be ready and us as a family to be ready spiritually, emotionally, and [financially].”  

Even though the process was intimidating and tough for Victor, he found himself starting to settle in his new home. 

“It was hard because I needed to work hard on my English to improve it and also COVID, so I didn’t know if I could come or not,” Victor said. “It was difficult, but now things are getting okay.” 

Living with Victor, Leonardo Lombardi believes that he has become accustomed to American society through his willingness to grow in knowledge. 

“From time to time, we may have to educate him on little things that Americans do and don’t do or say, just so he doesn’t come across as rude or invasive,” Leonardo Lombardi said. “But it has been easy to teach [him] because he’s always wanting to learn.” 

Educating himself and adapting to a whole new culture, Victor has noticed many stark differences compared to his home country, especially in education. 

“In my school, I couldn’t choose the subjects that I wanted,” Victor said. “We [had] to do [the classes given].” 

Aside from that, he has noticed that the teachers in the U.S. care more about you and your work. 

A reason for this differentiation is due to the student-teacher ratio in the countries. In Brazil, the average student-teacher ratio is 26 students per teacher. However, the average student-teacher ratio in the U.S. is 16 to one, allowing the student to have more time with the teacher to receive help and understanding. 

Because of his teachers’ patience, kindness, and open-mindedness, he has been able to adapt to his classes. 

“Sometimes it is difficult to understand [the class] because [the teachers] speak so fast and I don’t understand,” Victor said. “[But], because the teachers here are more kind and [concerned], they all have helped me.” 

Having Victor in her World History class, teacher Kristen Mayfield believes that he has been adjusting wonderfully. 

This poll has ended.

If you were going to be fluent in a 2nd (or 3rd) language, what would it be?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

“I think João has adjusted really well and seems to be getting along with fellow students,” Mayfield said. “I think it’ll [also] be nice for [João] to give insight into how [history] is talked about in [his] country versus how we talk about it here.”

Similarly, Bill Lombardi hopes his family can experience more Brazilian culture while allowing Victor to experience American culture. 

“We just wanted to give an opportunity for him and us as well to experience more about Brazil, and for him to experience more about the U.S. and see what America is like,” Bill Lombardi said. 

Even though Victor will be traveling back to his home country at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, he hopes to go back with more knowledge and new experiences. 

“I want to come back to Brazil knowing how to speak English fluently,” Victor said. “I want to make a lot of friends here and experience a lot of new things.”