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Mexican student settles in at NRHS

When Arturo Baños met his first American girl, he kissed her on the cheek - and she "freaked out."

"I guess you guys don't do that here," he said.

The two are friends now, but the incident made Baños, a native of Bachuca, Mexico, more aware of the differences between America and his home country.

Studying abroad is becoming a tradition in his family, Baños said. Several family members have studied in foreign countries, including a cousin who spent a year in Minnesota last year.

"He told me it was cold... and it is," Baños said with a laugh.

The 16-year-old said he hasn't experienced any homesickness yet, but feels guilty when his mom gets emotional on the phone.

"She calls me crying sometimes," he said. "I feel bad about that."

Baños said he has three goals for his year abroad: improve his English, learn about American culture and share his Mexican culture.

"A lot of kids want me to help them with their Spanish homework," he said with a laugh. "And everybody wants to know how to say things in Spanish."

Baños said he's looking forward to celebrating a traditional American holiday - like Thanksgiving - later this month; however, he's a little disappointed he missed Mexico's Independence Day, which is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico.

Baños said in the two months he's been in New Richmond he hasn't noticed much difference in terms of the people. He said the way people dress and act are very similar to those in Mexico.

The biggest differences are the food and weather, he said.

"It gets cold in Mexico, but not this cold," he said. "And the food is greasy here - it's good, but it's different."

Baños said he's not too worried about winter and feels pretty prepared due to his annual ski trips to Colorado.

"I'm used to snow," he said. "But they tell me it's colder here than Colorado."

Baños said he's not sure what the rest of his school year in New Richmond will bring, but he's looking forward to the experiences.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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