International to MVHS: Two transfer students’ journeys


Max Zonana

As a record number of students transferred to MVHS this school year, Oracle profiled two international students, Junior Giulianna GarciaBueno and Senior Vishnu Darsan.

Giulianna GarciaBueno’s story:

Courtesy of GarciaBueno.

While participating in an American exchange program, GarciaBueno and friends could walk over to restaurants like McDonald’s after school. In Ecuador, where she lived at that time, GarciaBueno said walking over to a McDonalds on her own would not have been safe, a parent would have had to drive them. 

GarciaBueno said being able to do activities independently, like getting food in the United States, made her realize that she wanted to immigrate to the US, something her family had been attempting since she was five months old. They later immigrated here in October of 2021 and she started attending MVHS soon after that.

“I am really excited to be here. It’s a dream come true for me,” GarciaBueno said.

In Ecuador, GarciaBueno said she went to a private international school, so adapting to the academics at MVHS was not hard. 

GarciaBueno said she felt well received immigrating here and that people are more understanding of people coming from another country. However, she said she had been asked if she spoke Ecuadorian, to which she replied with, “‘No, I speak Spanish, but thank you.’” 

GarciaBueno said her school in Ecuador would bus its students between their homes and school for safety reasons. She said she misses the bus rides because she could make friends who are outside of her grade. By befriending someone that is older on the bus, GarciaBueno said she has gotten advice about college. GarciaBueno said she wants to go to college in the United Kingdom to study international relations.

“I’d like to believe that I’m for the people,” GarciaBueno said. “I think being able to get a better representation [for Ecuador] and actually feel part of changes in the world is something that I am passionate about.”

GarciaBueno said she thinks Ecuador is an amazing country with educated people, beautiful rainforests, and good food. GarciaBueno said the freedom to be autonomous here is what she likes most because it is not safe to simply walk or drive alone in Ecuador.

“It’s been a wonderful experience so far. I’m excited to see where all of this leads,” GarciaBueno said. “I’m going to be part of two different schools on two different sides of the world. And that’s very exciting to me to see how both experiences change me and in the future form who I’m going to be and how I’m going to fit into the world.”

Vishnu Darsan’s story:

Courtesy of Darsan.

Darsan moved to Mountain View in July of 2021 for the prospect of attending an American college.

Darsan was born in India, moved to California when he was eight months old, and later moved back to India after the second grade. 

Darsan said his schools and classes in India were smaller than at MVHS. In eighth grade, Darsan said he was the only student in the class and his teacher would joke with him that if he was ever to be absent, he should tell the teacher so they could have a free period.

“The number of students on the first day when I came to [MVHS] just hit me in the face and I was like, ‘Wow, this is a lot of people. I’m going to have to make a lot of connections over here,’” Darsan said. 

  Darsan said he also noticed that there are far more assessments at MVHS. In India, he said midterms and finals comprised most of their grade. Here, quizzes, tests, and essays are weekly occurrences.

Darsan said he planned to apply to the University of California system but decided not to because the application was too much work while still adjusting to a new educational system. 

“I plan to apply to one of the community colleges either Foothill [or] DeAnza, probably in March and spend two years there which will help me get accustomed to the system,” Darsan said.

Due to the amount of work Darsan has here, he said he has less free time than he had in India to do activities like reading. But Darsan said here, he has made a couple of friends and started playing cricket.

“I think socially I’ve adjusted very well,” Darsan said. “But academically, I’m still trying to find my feet in certain ways.”