Coming to America: Basketball is just one lesson Navarro learned on US visit
Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2022 8:53 pm
South Point – in Rome, do as the Romans do. When I was in America, um, I played basketball.
That was the case for foreign exchange student Araceli Navarro, who traveled from Spain to the South Point to experience American culture and Appalachia.
Navarro stayed with Caleb Copley’s family and tried to learn new things from people, education to sports. While it was a great learning experience, there was also a considerable period of adjustment.
“I wanted to learn more about American culture and experience different experiences, so I made the exchange,” Navarro said.
“Obviously the first few weeks were a bit weird because I didn’t know how everyone lived differently. It wasn’t bad, it was just different. But you learn how to live with different people, so it’s a good experience .”
Navarro, who has a 6-foot-8 older brother, Roman, plays both college and semi-pro basketball in her native Spain, where players can do both.
“He’s fine,” Navarro said of her brother.
Araceli said she played a little basketball, “but not like here.”
“I’ve been watching my brother since I was a kid, and I really love basketball and the game, and I’m watching. I didn’t know I was going to play, but I just got an invite and I decided to give it a go.”
But Navarro soon realized there was a big difference between watching and playing.
“The first week, I was a little bit struggling to understand everything, and I’m still struggling with the scripts. But I’m working really hard, and I’m getting there, so it’s been difficult, but not that much,” Navarro said.
When Navarro arrived at the Copleys’ home, she might have been in an awkward position at first, but Caleb Copley said his family also had an adjustment period.
When Navarro arrived, the language—accent, to be precise—was a bit of a problem. Copley said Navarro, who speaks good English and easily understood her accent, struggled to understand her southeastern Ohio accent at first.
“She started learning English at a young age,” Copley said. “But she said our accent put her off when she first came here. If she could understand what we were saying, she would understand it. Same if New Yorkers came here. They wouldn’t have any Clue. They won’t notice the subtleties of our accents.
“She knows girls better than I do. I have a slightly stronger accent and she has a bit of trouble getting along with me. She says sometimes I talk and she just smiles and nods, trying to figure out what I’m saying. But she says she’s now There it was. I told her all she had to do was tell me, and she said ‘I know, but I don’t know everyone. I’m still trying to figure it all out.’”
Navarro, who is originally from Spain and speaks Spanish, said that if she was angry, she would not use her foreign language to say something obscene to the referee or the opposing player.
“It would be interesting, but I haven’t tried it yet,” Navarro said with a laugh.
Learning to understand the game in terms of the game has become easier for her thanks to head coach Dave Adams and assistant coaches Todd Pennington, Kyra Fletcher and Wes Hall.
“(Coach Adams) was really good. All the coaches were good. They helped me a lot, so I’m grateful for that,” she said.
While everyone helped, Navarro said she learned a lot, but one lesson stood out to her more than anything else.
“I think the most important thing I learned from this experience is to be independent, you have to learn to be on your own, not with your parents all the time or everyone’s help. Try to figure things out on your own,” Nava Luo said.
Copley said he was impressed with Navarro’s ability to learn to navigate the area on his own.
“She travels all over the place by herself. She does a great job. Every once in a while, she hits a cultural barrier, but we’re there to explain things to her that she doesn’t understand. For the most part, she loves America,” Copley said.
“It made me see how the rest of the world sees America. The first time she saw a school bus she wanted to take a photo with it. She said we only see it in movies. Movies make American culture so global. What she sees Stuff, she always thought only American stuff. They all watch American movies and TV shows. They have TV shows, but not high quality. American singers and actors are more like global superstars.
“She was 16 and gave up a year of her life to come here and be a part of American culture. How important it was to her. She made TicToc videos. She did it once with an Italian foreign exchange student, and one of them American students are teaching each other the language, it’s like trying to say the same thing in a different language. It’s all the rage in Spain. It had about 100,000 views overnight. She has a lot of followers because they want to see what American culture does to What it’s like for a Spanish girl.”
One thing Navarro has learned since she took office is the most surprising.
“I really enjoyed high school,” she said. “I really love my classes. I just love going to school, which is something I didn’t expect at all.”
Navarro said everything about the education system was very different from what she experienced in Spain.
“Teacher, the way they teach you, we have different subjects here,” Navarro said, before adding, “It’s better this way. I have no doubts about that.”
Copley said Navarro did not take her teacher lightly in Spain.
“I think she felt that the most important thing was that it wasn’t that her teachers didn’t care about the butter in Spain, she said the teachers here seemed to be more interested in not what they taught their students, but their opinions and perceptions. Students on things It’s more of a real relationship than just teaching and learning. She loves that aspect,” Copley said.
Copley said one area where Navarro gets bonus points is the time she spends in the bathroom getting ready.
“Compared to American women, that’s not bad,” Copley said with a laugh.
The Copleys had five children—four girls and a boy. Eldest daughter Addison is 14 and Navarro is 16.
“This is the first time we’ve had an exchange student, and there’s never been a better one. She’s a perfect fit for us, and she gets along great with the kids. She and Addison are like best friends,” Copley Say.
“We were doing some Christmas stuff the other night and they were all in tears thinking it was halfway through the year and she was going back. She’s part of our family now. We just shot the whole family Christmas Photo, she’s in there. It’s hard for us to see her go back. I’m sure we’ll visit there. Her grandma has said she wants us to go.”
With Navarro having to learn to live like an American while in the US, it appears the Copleys need to learn a lesson. When in Spain, act like a Spaniard.
“Ensename a vivir español.” (Translation: Teach me how to live Spanish.)