Religious Tolerance

By Roberto Gonzalez – Ecuador

“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so, too.”
― VoltaireTraité sur la tolérance, à l’occasion de la mort de Jean Calas

Religious tolerance is one the most important values that a society needs to achieve progress, but this value is fading away. People tend to generalize that all Muslims are terrorists when just few extremists are terrorists, like ISIS for example. This must change in order to achieve religious peace in the entire world.pope francis

Even in past times, intellectuals such as Voltaire, preached about the right that all people have to think freely. He said “I do not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to death your right to say it.”  We are all humans. Wars should not exist. Why would you kill your same race? Peace and tolerance is needed. Acceptance of all beliefs is imperative in order to save the lives of millions



2016 U.S.A. Presidential Elections

Luis Rafael Vernaza/ Ecuador

In 2015, the new presidential election started, which is now known as a controversial subject, since it has some interesting candidates that are either supported or completely ignored. In my opinion, I support the Democrats because they are not as extreme as the Republicans, and are actually giving illegal immigrants a chance to improve their lives.

One example of a Republican candidate is billionaire Donald Trump, who has gained the donald trumpsupport of most Republican followers and the dislike of most Democrats , as well as many Latinos. He has some rather unusual propositions, like building a wall that separates Mexico from the US, a wall which, as he puts it, will be made with the Mexican Government’s money. He also wants to deport all illegal immigrants, most of whom are Latinos, by also deporting their anchor babies, who were born in the US.

hillary clintonA candidate from the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton. I believe that she could bring order to this country because her husband is ex-president Bill Clinton, which means that she was a First Lady, and already has some experience in politics. She has also recently stated that the US will help Europe in the recent Belgium terrorist attack. In the end, I hope that a democratic candidate eventually wins the elections because I believe they are what this country needs.


Charline Cammers is from Belgium and 21 years old. She will stay in Santa Barbara until May.

She started her academic year after she had finished her studies at the university. She did her graduate degree in teaching at the elementary school level, but she now is trying to find something different because she does not want to be a teacher anymore. Children can be very exhausting. In her free time, she likes to draw, especially women. She also used to play basketball, but she had to quit because of her studies. Charline is a very nice and warm hearted person.

According to her, the most disgusting food she has ever eaten was in Santa Barbara. She really does not like white beans.  Her weirdest travel destination so far was also in the United States as well, San Francisco. She thinks the roads there a very different because they are so steep and unusual. She thinks that this is crazy.

The hardest decision she ever had to make was probably to leave her family and friends and move to Santa Barbara for eight months. We think that was a hard decision for all of us. Her most impressive adventure so far was related to her academic year. Leaving her family and friends and taking the long flight alone to come to the United States was not easy. She was afraid to miss the plane or that no one would pick her up from the airport and she would not know where she was going as well. Everything was different as she expected it to be.

By Ute Weidinger, 18, Germany

Interview about Miriam



by Catherine Sodar – Belgium

Miriam is 25 years old and she comes from Barcelona, Spain. She is a tourism agent but she is also studying communication to become a travel journalist. She wants to travel a lot and to see different countries and cultures. She is an open minded person and for her, English is an important skill to communicate with other people, to travel and to work because it’s a good opportunity to meet new people and cultures.

She will stay here for 3 weeks only, because she has to return to work in Spain. First, she worried about the safety in America because everyone can have a gun, but now she isn’t afraid anymore because Santa Barbara is a really safe and it doesn’t seem very dangerous. She is very happy to be here because the American people are very friendly and helpful.

While she is here, her aims are to improve her English for her job, but her life goals are to become a travel  journalist for a magazine. Money isn’t that important because she just want to do something what she loves and that is traveling. She would like to go to Japan and Thailand because they have completely different types of cultures. Her dream is to swim with dolphins but she doesn’t really want to do it if it would contribute to the imprisonment of them.

Before she came to America she went to a few different countries in Europe :

  • France; She lived there for 7 months.
  • Italy : Miriam really like this country.
  • England
  • Tunis
  • United States : for holidays.
  • Brazil
  • Belgium ; to study at the English Academy in Spa for 3 months.

She told me that when I come to her country and especially to her city, Barcelona, I have to visit absolutely the Gaudi Park and also see all the Gaudi architecture. She appreciates  walking in the little streets of Barcelona where are many bars, cafes and little shops. I think it could be wonderful to get lost in her city. I have heard a lot of great things about Barcelona.

She went to Liege six years ago to go to the English Academy and it’s the city where I live in Belgium. There she also learnt a lot of English. She’s now an independent tourist guide but she is studying communication : marketing, languages and journalism.

Viviane Meyer

By Emmi Zoccolan, French section of Switzerland.


Viviane Meyer is a nineteen year old Swiss girl. She is from Zurich and she speaks Swiss-German. Her parents are from Bern and she has a younger sister who is seventeen years old and works with children. Viviane finished high school before coming to Santa Barbara and after her trip here, she wants to study Economics at the University of Zurich. Her hobby is handball; she has played for twelve years now.

She chose Santa Barbara because she knew some people who were here before and told her that it was really amazing.  Furthermore, she thinks it is better to live in a smaller city like Santa Barbara than in a bigger city, like Los Angeles, because you can go everywhere and you do not need a car. Everything is near and accessible. Even if she feels good in the United States, she feels a little bit homesick; she especially misses the food from Switzerland, like the fondue and definitely her bed. According to her, the biggest difference between Switzerland and Santa Barbara is that here everything is within walking distance. Although, if you want to go to another city, like in San Diego, you need to plan. You cannot just go there, because you need to rent a car and book a hotel. In Switzerland, it is really different because it is a small country; so if you want to go in another city you can just take the car and be in the nearest city in less than one hour. In addition, she likes the fact that the stores stay open in Santa Barbara until 10p.m. because in her country they close earlier.

Viviane has already been to a lot of countries, but China was the most exciting experience she has had so far. She went to Shanghai for two weeks and compared to other European countries, China has a completely difference lifestyle. She said it was interesting to see how people live there and how it is so different from our lifestyle in Europe. She noticed that America is also different form Switzerland, but it was even more different than China. The most beautiful place she has been to is Croatia; she has been there three times already and she loved it. For her it is the most beautiful place she has seen because the water is clean and the landscapes are stunning. Moreover, she liked the fact that there are not sandy beaches and she did not have sand everywhere when she went home. She wishes to visit more Asian countries in the future, especially Vietnam. Perhaps she will take a trip to South America also.