Meet LMP’s International Antiguan Student: Leilani Barnes

Leilani Barnes has attended LMP since her 7th grade year.

Leilani Barnes has attended LMP since her 7th grade year.

Rachel Dearing, Staff Writer

Leilani Barnes is an international senior at Lake Mary Prep and has been attending LMP since seventh grade. She is from Antigua, an island located in the West Indies near the Caribbean Sea. She is on the bowling team this year and is looking forward to playing in matches with her teammates. Her favorite high school class was Dr. Clarke’s marine biology class. LMP is sad to see her graduate this year but wishes the best of luck to her in the future. 

What’s the biggest difference between Antigua and America? 

“Culture,” said Barnes, is the biggest difference between Antigua and America. “Americans can tend to be rude and spoiled. It’s not all people my age, and it doesn’t go for all Americans, especially not my friends but outsiders that I’ve seen at restaurants. [Young Adults] tend to not respect their parents. Children aren’t disciplined enough. Whereas at home we can’t disrespect our parents. Parental- and self-respect are probably the biggest contrasts.”

Many international students, including Barnes, have noticed that Americans tend to be more rough around the edges when it comes to manners. It is something that other cultures are not familiar seeing since Americans are more lenient. 

What do you like the most about Antigua? 

Barnes said her favorite thing about Antigua is her village. “My village is kind of small. Everyone in the village is so welcoming with open arms. We’re just like one big family, with probably one hundred people.”

Antiguan culture is very welcoming no matter ethnicity or race. It’s part of their culture to be kind to others and treat everyone with respect.

What is your daily routine like? 

On a day-to-day basis, Barnes said she’s, “very busy. I tend to be with the kids a lot. I’m always outside, never inside. Always up late.”

It’s also a custom for Antiguans to take care of each other and be there for others when they need it. Antiguans are constantly working and learning in their villages. They hardly get any days off but when they do, one can catch them enjoying the beach or resting after working hard.

Do you plan on going to college in the U.S., and what do you plan to study? 

Barnes said “yes” she will be attending college in the U.S. after she graduates in May. “I’m going to finish my education here in America, but I want to study ecotourism. That is when you learn about your environment and how to take care of your living space. I want to major in the one that focuses on different islands. I come from an island myself, and the younger generations doesn’t treasure it as much. I think if I study ecotourism I can go to different places, then I can teach the younger generations, like ‘hey you live here you have to take care of it.’”

It’s important to Barnes that she teaches the younger generation how to preserve and respect their cultures.