Xavi, Our Departing Spanish Exchange Student

Two photos side by side next to each other. first is of a student Xavi, standing in-front of the University Hall on the oval, Smiling and holding a cupcake. the photo next to it is of the same student on top of a snowy mountain peak with a snowboard in his hand as he gets ready  to go down it.

Xavi Sebastia is an international exchange student who came to the University of Montana in August of 2018 from Barcelona, Spain. He studies Bio-Chemistry at his home university and studies Sports Science here at UM.

I first met Xavi during a barbecue for incoming exchange students and returning exchange students, we then met up periodically at other student events around campus, and Xavi even joined a group of students that I took Ice Skating one time. Recently we met up for coffee, where I asked him about how it felt when he first arrived in Missoula compared to how he feels now.  

‘’When I first arrived it was like, wow, everything is new you know, and now after a year here I know the city well and I feel like this is my home,’’ Xavi said.

I also asked Xavi about what he likes best about living on campus.

Xavi said, ‘’I like the student life here, I live in the dorms here on campus, I am close to a lot of students, mostly Americans. Students typically live on campus for four years, so the campus is set up so that you can do everything here”

The UM has its own movie theater, and lots of common space, a few different cafeterias, a barber shop, computer repair services, and even a shipping depot.

“You never need to leave campus unless you want to, so I am always close to my friends and it is easy to get to know other students because I see them a lot,’’ Xavi said.

Next, I asked Xavi about his experiences with classes at UM.

He said, ‘’The education is really good, the workload is consistent here, so you are working more at the beginning of the semester but, you are not cramming toward the end of the semester because the final exams are easier. The education system is better for learning because you learn the whole semester instead of just the two weeks before the final exam.”

“What’s more is the professors are very helpful, you can go to their office and just walk in and ask them anything, you don’t even need an appointment sometimes. The professors really want to help you, I will sometimes even ask my professors for career advice, and they are very helpful, one professor even set me up with an internship here in town. The professors here are great, they really invest in their students.’’

Xavi is a sports fanatic, he loves running and joined a running group to be able to consistently run with locals. He said the level of intensity for sports here is high which is really motivating. Xavi said he went snowboarding every weekend this winter, an impressive feat, even from a local’s point of view. His favorite ski mountain was Lost Trail but he went to Lookout Pass the most. Xavi even started rock climbing after he took a course, to learn proper rock climbing techniques.

Xavi is excited to go home and see his family again but also sad to be leaving Missoula, he hopes to return at some point in the future.