New Beginnings

One CHS Student’s Experience Moving to the US

Carolina+and+her+brother+CHS+alumni+David+Cordero+pose+at+an+open-air+market+in+Costa+Rica.

Evelyn Borbón-Cordero

Carolina and her brother CHS alumni David Cordero pose at an open-air market in Costa Rica.

Julian King, Contributor

To read this article in Spanish please click this link.

CHS has a large and diverse student body, many of whom have never known any other education system. But for some students, like senior Carolina Cordero, having a place in the MCPS “jungle” has not always been a given.

“I was born in Connecticut but moved back to Costa Rica at one,” said Cordero. “I went to a private school called St.Paul’s College, all the education was in Spanish.”

The language barrier was a genuine struggle for Cordero. Many students take for granted their ability to access the world around them, and without a shared language it can be very isolating.

“When I moved back to the states, I had a very hard time with the language. Even though they taught English at my old school, it was very different from having interactions in the language. Over time I adjusted to the language. Watching TV shows really helped, and of course general exposure,”  said Cordero.

But even beyond the language barrier, another major difference was the hyper-competitiveness of the MCPS education system. Many students who have been part of the system for their entire life have gradually grown and adjusted to its rigidity and demanding workload. But coming from a completely different system can be very difficult.

“The education system in Costa Rica was much less intense. There was a relatively low workload, the people were more personable, and of course, being so close to the beach didn’t hurt either,” said Cordero. “When I came to the US I found everything so stressful, and it honestly made adjusting a bit harder.”

Although the initial transition was difficult, after several years in the new system Cordero has adjusted. She is studious and an optimistic scholar with a passion for seeing the world and finance.

“Although I miss Costa Rica a lot, I’ve made so many good friends since I came here. And there are so many good opportunities here,” said Cordero. “Although I would like to go back someday, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”