HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Jan. 2, 2006

Yankes host Ecuadorian exchange student

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Many go south during the cold winter months, but one young girl chose to come north.

Sandra Masaquiza, 17, is a Dassel-Cokato foreign exchange student from the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, South America where she lives with her parents and two younger brothers.

The climate is warmer there, but Masaquiza does enjoy playing in the snow with her host family’s dog Charlie.

She is staying with her host family, Grace and Mick Yanke, north of Cokato, and they enjoy having her in their home. “We told her she could stay another year,” Grace Yanke said.

The culture in Santa Cruz is quite different from Minnesota. People walk or bike everywhere on the island instead of driving a car.

The houses are closer together, not like they are here, and everything is much greener here, she said.

Also, there are no extracurricular activities like sports in her school back home. Masaquiza was on the Chargers’ cross country team in the fall, and she is now in gymnastics focusing on the bars and beam. Her “mom” as she calls her host mom, is a gymnastics coach so they get to spend a lot of time together.

They also spend time together watching movies and TV. There are much more channels to watch. She only had four back home, Masaquiza said.

They also go shopping together, “People shop a lot more here,” Masaquiza said. “We seem to go all the time.”

Students also work while they are in school she noticed, but on the island they might only work while attending college.

In Ecuador, students go to regular school up until tenth grade and then school is more like college, where they train in a specific area for a career, such as tourism or accounting.

The students have been very nice here, she said. A group of girls from the school will pick up a couple of the foreign exchange girls and go to activities at the First Baptist Church in Cokato.

The Yankes have wanted to have a foreign exchange student for some time now. They chose a student from Ecuador because Mick’s father is originally from that country.

They went through Cet USA foreign exchange program that was at the Howard Lake Women’s Expo.

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