Exchange student finds comfort in tennis

When most teens want a change, they go out, try a different style, cut their hair a different way, listen to different music, or maybe hang around a new group of people.

Junior Lara Cives Ramos took a much more dramatic step.

With the help of a one year scholarship that her home country provided her with, she decided to move to a whole new country.

Leaving her homeland in Spain, Ramos came to the United States as an exchange student, and is currently attending Pacific Law Academy.

To cope with being thousands of miles away from home, Ramos joined the tennis team so she could keep busy.

“If I stay every day at my house, I remember my life in Spain,” Ramos said. “I’m able to meet people here this way.”

With a nine hour time difference, she tries her best to keep in contact with her parents back home.

Her parents, being willing and understanding, are flexible with her time schedule, even if it means waking up at 3 a.m. to video chat with her.

However, keeping busy wasn’t the only thing she gained from tennis. Tennis is a popular sport in Spain and Ramos has always wanted to play. Playing allows her to connect to her home country while still experiencing the American culture.

So far, tennis has greatly helped her transition into living in a foreign country, she said.

Although learning a new language is challenging, having only six subjects instead of 14, like she did in Spain, is an easy transition.

Being only her first year playing, coach Shannon Markley sees her as having a natural talent; she is able to pick up fast. Not only is it good for Ramos to be in a new environment, but also for the teammates.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get to know another culture,” Markley said.

For senior Lynzie Vang, having Ramos as a teammate makes the world seem a little smaller.

“It’s cool that although she’s from across the world the game is still the same,” Vang said.

Ramos’s love for the game is evident in the way her teammates perceive her.

“Lara is very coachable and she shows interest in tennis,” Vang said. “She’s improving and picking up tennis very fast. You can tell that she enjoys it and she tries hard at practice.”

Sophomore Celine Lopez finds Ramos helps to create an open environment among teammates because she is so friendly. She hopes the environment will create a stronger bond among the team that will help them during season.

At times Ramos finds it challenging to play, other times she finds it easy; overall she has fun while doing so.

From the looks of it, Ramos is definitely finding the change she sought and is looking forward to playing doubles.