By Aakash Jain ’14
This February, 16 students from Argentina visited Brophy along with one of their teachers as part of the Immaculada Exchange and Immersion Program, which started in 2009.
The Argentinians attend Colegio Immaculada, a Jesuit high school in Santa Fe, Argentina that was founded more than 400 years ago.
Sante Fe is in northeastern Argentina and has a population of fewer than 400,000.
Facundo Bergallo, one of the students, said he enjoyed the experience.
“I was with Joe Hickey (’14). We went driving, bowling, Brophy and Xavier soccer matches and a Suns match,” Bergallo said.
At the Suns game, Bergallo had the opportunity to meet fellow Argentinian and current Suns player Luis Scola.
“In my case, I loved that moment because I play basketball and he is a role model,” Bergallo said. “It was an unbelievable moment for me. In Argentina, Luis is very famous because he and (Manu) Ginobili are the better players of the national team.”
Agustin Vissio, another Argentinian student, said that they also visited New York before their trip to Phoenix and made a three-day stop in Los Angeles after their visit at Brophy was over.
“We loved New York, but in Phoenix I liked the experience in the Suns match and the time spent in Manresa,” Bergallo said. “We really enjoyed the time with the Chinese and American boys.”
A second exchange program with students from China took place at the same time as the Argentinian trip.
When asked what was different between Argentina and Phoenix, Bergallo said, “The food, the climate, all the things in the city are far from each other, and all the boys drive here, but we must have 18 years to drive.”
Joaquin Villa said that while he initially found it difficult to understand his classes, he quickly became acclimated to Brophy. He said that this experience has also helped him become a better English speaker.
For the second part of the program, several Brophy students will visit Argentina in May.