Madrid to Missouri: Exchange student experiences American autumn

Maren DeMargel
Social Media Manager

Junior Marta Domínguez smiles with fellow Juniors Leila Smelser and Mia Willis. “I love my math class with Leila and Mia,” Domínguez said. Photo by Maren DeMargel

Student sections. Fall weather. Homecoming. Thanksgiving.

Americans may call these things mundane, but for junior exchange student Marta Domínguez, these activities are nothing short of exhilarating.

Originally from Madrid, Spain, Domínguez has never experienced any of these things before. Instead, she heard about them from her older sister.

“I wanted to come to the U.S. because my sister also was an exchange student, ” Domínguez said.

Hearing about her sister’s experiences in Indiana attending American high school and joining an American cheer team made it impossible for Domínguez to ignore the prospect of having that experience for herself. Instead of cheering, though, Domínguez decided to become a member of the women’s JV volleyball team.

“I love volleyball, and I love the girls on Varsity and JV,” Domínguez said.

Volleyball is not the only thing Domínguez loves about America though. According to her, even core classes are fun here.

“I love my math class with [juniors] Leila (Smelser) and Mia (Willis),” Domínguez said. “My favorite thing is maybe hanging out with friends or my math class.”

While Domínguez has found friends in Webster Groves, opening up to new people is not something that comes easy to her.

“I think my biggest challenge is having friends, like meeting new people and being close to them, like showing your feelings to them. I think that’s so difficult to show, so that’s a challenge for me,” Domínguez said.

Nevertheless, Domínguez persisted and was able to find her place in the Webster Groves community.

“I love being in this school. I love the people who form part of this school society. I love how people cheer for you in a game, and yeah, I love this school in general,” Domínguez said.

One thing that has made her American experience more enjoyable is her host family, the Miofskys.

miofsky family
The Miofsky family, Carly, Jess, George and Matt Miofsky take a selfie with host family-member Marta Domínguez. “Relationship building has honestly been very easy and fun with Marta. She is very friendly, conscientious, follows our house rules, and loves our pups just like us,” Jess Miofsky said via email. Photo provided by Carly Miofsky

“I love my American host family. I have a sister and two brothers. George, that is my little brother, and Carly, that is my older sister, goes to Webster too. Carly is a junior and George is a freshman. I like watching movies with them. I have fun with them,” Domínguez said.

Domínguez’s host sister, Carly Miofsky, shared that the two have developed a close relationship.

“We have similar interests, and it’s relaxed and easy to talk to her about anything,” Miofsky said via direct message.

Miofsky has worked hard to make Domínguez’s transition to American life easier, taking extra time to make sure Marta feels included and understood.

“I would say that there was a little bit of a language barrier between us because I use a lot of slang which I know she won’t get right away. I’ve resolved this by explaining what things mean and asking if she understands me, which she
usually does,” Miofsky said.

Domínguez’s host mom, Jess Miofsky, enjoys watching Marta experience new things.

“We have introduced Marta to American fast food like Canes and Chick-Fil-A. She loves Chick-Fil-A sauce and wants to put it on everything! She never knew she loved Dr. Pepper until she came to America. We have watched many American movies, and Marta’s favorite so far is ‘Mean Girls,’” Miofsky said via email. “Marta has attended many high school football games and is experiencing fall weather and fire pits: both of which she had never experienced before.”

All in all, Domínguez’s American experience has been a positive one.

“I like everything. Like, there’s nothing that I will say I don’t like,” Domínguez said. “I’m not homesick yet. To be honest, I’m so great here, so I don’t miss home at all.”


Maren DeMargel – Social Media Manager

This will be Maren DeMargel’s second year on ECHO staff. She was Podcast Editor her junior year, and she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.

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