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   Spanish foreign exchange student Julia García Oñoro is adding to her American experience with a stint as a CHS basketball player. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

García Oñoro works on her dribbling skills during a recent practice.

“I loved this town since the day I arrive.”

Trading bustling Guadalajara, Spain for low-key Coupeville has been a big change for Julia García Oñoro, but it’s one the foreign exchange student turned basketball star is enjoying.

“It’s really nice here; it is really different from any place I’ve been before,” she said. “While I was in Spain I was always looking in Google maps and photos about Coupeville, but anyways it still surprised me, how beautiful it is.”

“My town was nothing like here,” García Oñoro added. “Alovera has a lot more people and it’s a lot dryer; well, all that area has a dry weather.

“We barely see the rain and we don’t have the same kind of trees as here and of course not that many.”

Like most foreign exchange students, García Oñoro didn’t choose her destination. But, wherever she landed, it was a journey she was anticipating.

“It was really unexpected,” she said. “One day I was with my dad in the car and he suddenly asked me if I wanted to do it. I didn’t even think about it, my answer was yes.

“I really was into the idea because the last summer I spent a month as a foreign student in England, and it was fantastic,” García Oñoro added. “And not always you have the opportunity to go and live abroad and learn another language.”

In preparation for the trip, she filled out questionnaires and wrote a letter about herself, so that prospective host families could get a feel for her as a person.

When she landed in a cow town on a rock in the middle of the water in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, it was kismet.

“I didn’t choose Coupeville, but anyways, if I had the opportunity I would probably choose it or a place similar to this,” García Oñoro said.

With the arrival of winter, she’s joined Amy King’s Wolf JV basketball team, a first-time player learning the game under a sage hoops guru.

Enjoying her first experience with American high school sports, García Oñoro is considering playing tennis or competing in track and field in the spring.

After her year in America, she’ll return to Spain to live with her mother, where she’ll finish her final year of high school.

Down the road, García Oñoro plans to study economics and international business while living with her grandparents.

That will give her an opportunity to combine further schooling with providing assistance to her grandmother and grandfather.

When she’s not in the gym working on perfecting her skills on the basketball court, García Oñoro enjoys reading. Though she admits her mind wanders at times.

“I love reading, but I can’t deny that I procrastinate a lot with it,” she said. “I always end up in my phone reading stories in Wattpad or wasting my time in Tumblr.

“Another thing I like is music,” García Oñoro added. “I can spend hours listening it or looking for new artists or songs.”

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