America is just the first stop for exchange student Hayuk Minano.
Minano’s love for travel has taken him from his hometown in Madrid, Spain to small-town Sequim where he will be a student at Sequim High School for one year.
“I wanted to change my high school in Madrid,” he said.
“And If I’m going to change my high school, I’m going to change my country, too.”
Minano said he wanted to get the experience of being an exchange student for one year and will receive credits for the classes he takes at Sequim High School.
He said all the exchange students in Spain choose to go to America or London but he wanted to go farther away, leading him to choose America.
“I like school (here). I think it’s better than Spain,” he said.
Minano is a junior at Sequim High and is enjoying a new curriculum where his classes are easier than they are in Spain.
“We have more classes than only six (in Spain),” he said.
While Minano also attends school Monday through Friday in Madrid, he said he has double the classes at his school in Spain.
At Sequim High, he is taking algebra II, history, sports marketing, literature, Growl News Network (GNN) and human body systems.
He particularly enjoys his human body systems class where he is able to have hands-on learning with activities such as dissections.
“In Spain we learn biology but we don’t do nothing with brains or whatever,” Minano said.
“But here we dissect brains and eyes … you can touch it and in Spain it’s just with a book and that’s all.”
In the future, Minano said he is interested in pursuing physical therapy or a career involving sports.
Minano is active in sports and played on the Sequim High School football team last fall, the basketball team this semester and also plays soccer outside of school in the Storm King Soccer Club.
“I like to play with teammates,” he said.
Minano describes soccer as “his sport” and said he plays with family and friends back in Spain. To add more to his athletic resume, he said he used to play table tennis or ping pong and competed in national tournaments in Spain.
He also follows the National Basketball League and is looking forward to attending his first NBA game in Portland with a friend and his family for his 17th birthday in February.
“I’m an NBA fan,” he said. “In Spain I follow the NBA.”
While Minano is a big sports fan, he said he is not a fan of the cold weather in Sequim and the small city.
He said Madrid has a population of about 6 million people and the weather is much warmer there.
In Sequim, Minano said he hangs out with friends on the weekends, goes to the movies or goes bowling.
He said one of the differences between America and Spain is the use of individualized transportation versus public.
“Here if you have a car you can go everywhere,” he said.
In Spain, Minano said there are many buses and underground subways as well as other modes of public transportation.
He said when he returns to Spain he will have one more year of school and then he wants to travel more.
“When I come back to Spain I have one more year and then I want to go to Australia,” he said.
He said as far as coming to America, he has maintained an open mind and welcomed his experiences without expectations.
“I only want to love the experience and have an open mind,” he said.