Spanish foreign exchange student is enjoying her stay in Lanesboro

Saioa Legal-perez of Pamplona, Spain, is a foreign exchange student at Lanesboro High School this year. CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER
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When one strikes up a conversation with Saioa Legal-perez, you would never know English wasn’t her native language. The teen from Pamplona, Spain, speaks very fluent English. She is a foreign exchange student at Lanesboro High School this year, staying with the Jason and Bridget Harvey family.

“Being here in the U.S. is pretty much what I expected. The people are very friendly and I think the schools here are much better than in Spain,” Saioa noted.

Pamplona is in the very northern part of Spain, less than an hour from the French boarder. It has a population of about 200,000 with a Mediterranean climate with summer highs averaging in the mid-80s F and lows in the winter averaging 38 F. It is well know for the running of the bulls, which is an event held every year.

“It’s in the mountains and we do get snow two or three times each winter. Kind of the same weather as we have had here recently. But not the cold that I’ve been told to expect this winter,” she added.

Saioa has an 18-year-old brother. Her father is a banker and her mother works in a factory. She learned about the foreign exchange student program through a cousin, who spent a year at the high school near Las Vegas.

While in high school Saioa enjoyed club track. They do not have school-sponsored sports like they do in the states. She is currently playing volleyball with the Burros and plans to participate in track this spring. She said the high jump and sprints are the events she enjoys the most.

Saioa said she has been enjoying her stay with her host family. She shares a bedroom with Addie Harvey, who is about her age. They have been enjoying going shopping, movies and will be traveling to the Twin Cities to take in a 21 Pilots concert.

When Saioa completes her school year in Lanesboro, she will still have one more year of high school left in Spain. She plans to continue on in college, but is not sure what she plans to major in.

Besides Spanish and English, Saioa also speaks French and a little Catalan, which is the official language of Catalonia, a Spanish state on the Mediterranean Sea. She and her family spend vacations there. And while she really can’t speak it, she can understand some of the Basque language, which is still spoken regularly in the Pomploma area.