Not just an exchange student, but a tutor, too

O’Brien and Guzman speak on impact of Spanish exchange


Gracie Carr

If junior T.J. O’Brien needs help with his Spanish homework, exchange student Agustin Guzman is in the house.

Jake Langdon, Reporter/Videographer

This year junior T.J. O’Brien and his family took on a major responsibility. They decided to host an exchange student for 10 months. Agustin Guzman, also known simply as “Agus” or “Guz,” joined their family last August from Madrid, Spain.

Guzman said, “I think I wanted to be an exchange student because learning English is so important for the future and also because I wanted to meet new people and have new experiences.”

His bold decision to go outside of his comfort zone was not easy. Guzman admitted that “the biggest change was the school. The first day was hard for me because we don’t change classes (in Spain).” He also said that “the language is kind of hard for me because when I am tired, for example, it is hard for me to talk with people.”

He added, “I miss, of course, my family and my best friends. Also I miss going to the soccer stadium.”

Guzman said been to the United States on several previous occasions because his father is a pilot. 

He cited two benefits from his year on the Hill. He said, “I am making a lot of new friends and also I am improving my English skills.”

The early discomfort has led to him gaining a greater appreciation for the United States. When asked what his favorite part of his experience was, Guzman said, “It’s a great opportunity to experience foreign culture and meet new friends.”

About what O’Brien values from the experience and he said, “Probably the friendship we’ve made. He taught me a lot about soccer and Real Madrid. He taught me a lot about the culture.”

Guzman finished by saying that he is “so happy to be here. I am with a great family and I also get to know a lot of nice people. It was a good decision “

O’Brien having an in-house tutor was a positive influence on his Spanish skills. He said, “(Guzman) taught me a lot of Spanish. He will help me if I have any questions if I have any about my Spanish homework.”