Change of peso value prevents Mexican students from visiting SHS

March 23, 2017 — by Alexandra Li and Ami Nachiappan

Diificulties prevent Mexican students from coming to SHS. 

This past November, foreign language department head Arnaldo Rodriguex struggled to find homes for the students who traditionally visit the U.S. from Cuernavaca, Mexico, as part of an exchange.

The exchange gives the teens a chance to learn about typical American festivities during Thanksgiving, an exclusively American holiday.

The problem he ran into was that too many Saratoga families either had family visiting or were traveling out of town during the holidays. As a result, the foreign language department decided to have the Mexican students visit in March this year.

As the year began, however, the department was informed of a change in the value of the Mexican peso due to America’s growing presence in the international market. The conversion rate used to be $1 to 10 pesos but is now $1 to 20 pesos. With the Mexico peso taking a hit, families in Mexico had a difficult time being able to afford the trip and it was canceled for this year.

Rodriguex hopes that giving the students’ families time to adjust will allow the students to once again participate in the exchange program next year.

According to Rodriguex, in the 1980s, through an on-campus International Club, the school hosted around 25 students in total from Mexico, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Spain and Brazil. As the school’s demographics have changed and more Asian families have moved into the area, he has had to do more work underscoring the value of playing host to exchange students.

“I’m happy that in the last three years, Asian families are opening their lives and willing to host, which allows the program to continue,” Rodriguex said. “The program is all about making friends and breaking the barrier.”