For Matias Cuesta Monge, Sayville is quickly becoming a second home during his year as an international exchange student.
After years of saving money to apply and participate in the International Student Exchange (ISE) program, Matias traveled from Spain last August to study among young American peers and have what he describes as an experience of a lifetime.
"I love living in Sayville. It's a small town just like where I live in Spain. I love the fact that all the houses have a front and a back yard. The people are great and I love new things like 7-11 or frozen yogurt,” said the 16-year-old.
He also loves the fact that American teens can drive at 17 years old, and said he’s really enjoying attending Sayville high school as he can choose the subjects he wants to study.
“I came to America because I wanted to learn English, but that's what I told my parents. I really wanted to learn another culture and see how people live in other places. My high school is great. All the other students are very nice with me since the first day,” he told Patch in an email.
And as much as Matias is soaking in the culture and American way of living, Sayville students are also eager to find out about his country, his schooling and what teens in Spain do for fun.
“All of them that know me pay a lot of interest in how Spain is and what I think about America. I have made really good friends,” he said, adding that pizza in America is much better than in Spain and that he’s become a true bagel aficionado.
“I love bagels from the first day I tried them so the fact that I came to Long Island is amazing,” said Matias.
The teenager is very grateful for the program and for the Sayville family that welcomed him into their home.
“I want to thank my host family, for giving me this amazing opportunity of making my dream come true. They are very nice since the first day I arrived here and they just getting even better with time,” he said.
“For all this I feel Sayville is my second home thanks to everyone."
The ISE is continually seeking host families throughout the year for the program as international students come for either a semester or full academic year. Anyone interested can call Regional Advisor Christina Lanzillotto at 631-790-6907.