It’s Foreign Territory


Would you travel over seventeen hours on a plane? Would you travel roughly 5,757 miles away from your family to stay in Surprise, Arizona for a semester?

Over the years, Imagine Prep has offered students from abroad to stay for either half a year or up to a full year of a foreign experience for people all around the world. This year, one of the few foreign exchange students that is new to the Prep is Mariana Nogueira Desa who is from Brazil.

Nogueira, a sixteen year old from Divinopolis, Brazil, is currently staying with the Brookshire family for half a school year which is the equivalent of one semester. She made the choice to come to America because she loved everything about it the first time she came. She also  wanted to improve her English by being exposed to it for five months. 

On the first day of school, Nogueira quickly made friends but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss her friends and family back home in Divinopolis, Brazil. According to Nogueira, the things that she misses the most – besides her family – are her dog and the parties that she would go to with her friends.

The differences between Surprise and Divinopolis are very noticeable to Nogueira. She shared that she thinks school is better at Imagine Prep than it is back home in Brazil.

“We learn a lot of useless things at my school and here we learn fewer things with fewer classes, but we can remember what we learned,” Nogueira said. 

As for Aurelio and Adriana – Mariana’s parents –  the hardest thing for them is missing their daughter.

“It was also hard sending her here without knowing where she was going to be and who she was staying with,” her parents said. 

For the next three months, Nogueira will get to experience holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in Arizona with her host family before heading home at the end of the first semester.