Far from home

Nine of the foreign exchange students share a little bit about their experiences here in America

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Far from home

Carlotta Milanta, Staff member

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Helena Nolte, 16, South Africa

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to do the exchange year because I came to the US when I was 12 years old and I promised myself that I would come back.”

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I like the fact that here teenagers are allowed to drive because is really convenient.”

What do you miss most?
I miss the beach the most, and swimming and I miss doing fun stuff with my friends.”

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
I would suggest going on exchange because it opens your horizons and connects you to people all over the world.”

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
My school and my friends were really supportive about it and really exciting for me, and I feel really fortunate for that.”

What are your expectations for this year?
It’s really hard to find a defined goal, but  would probably say to push myself to new limits in order to be a better person than I was the day before.”

 

Lina Baras, 16, Germany

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to go on exchange because I wanted to experience the american way of life and to improve my English.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I really like the whole school experience especially the football game on Friday night.

What do you miss most?
I really miss my family and friends. I also miss the bakery there.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
I would definitely suggest going on an exchange because of the incredible experience from every point of view. I would say you almost learn something new every single day.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
My family and friends back home were really proud of me, because you really have to be brave and mature enough to do it.

What are your expectations for this year?
“My expectation for this year is to travel and see as much as I can, together with building a strong relationship with my host family and friends. I hope to leave what people have been told is going to be the best year of my life.”

Camilla Raspino, 16, Italy

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
Since I was a child I wanted to do an exchange year because I truly think it’s an experience that you’ll never forget and that allows you to get in touch with another culture.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I don’t think there is something I like the most about the US, but what really surprised me here was everybody’s kindness.

What do you miss most?
I miss my family and friends the most.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
Yes I highly recommend to go on an exchange program, because it’s a unique experience that is going to change yourself forever.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
“Fortunately my family were really supported, my friends thought didn’t really agreed with my decision because they didn’t want me to go away for such a long time.

What are your expectations for this year?
“I don’t really have expectations for this year, I just hope to make unforgettable memories and friends.”

 

Chananya Chuaymak, 16, Thailand

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to go on an exchange because I wanted to improve my English skills and have a totally new experience.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I really like the freedom that we have in school, for example we can wear everything we want to (in Thailand it’s different because we have uniform) and teachers would check my haircut every month because we must hair must be equal to my lips.

What do you miss most?
The thing I miss the most are my friends, because it can be really hard to make friends here since my English is not really good.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
I would suggest going on an exchange because you learn so many things every day and by skipping out from your comfort zone you learn how to save problems by yourself.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
They this is a great experience that is going to change my personality.

What are your expectations for this year?
“My expectation is to leave a great year by sharing a wonderful time with my host family.”

 

Alex Rodriguez Blanco, 15, Spain

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to participate in this  exchange program because I really wanted to come here to the USA so I took the chance and I did it.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
The thing that I like the most is that there here are a lot of classes and everybody are so proud about their own country; and like them I really like the USA too.

What do you miss most?
I miss my dogs a lot.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
I would definitely suggest going on an exchange because it’s one of the best experiences in your life, and I honestly think everybody should try something like this eventually in their life. It’s amazing how many people you can meet and how many things you can learn every single day.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
My family back home are really proud of me. At first they were a little bit worried about me but in the end they congratulated me.

What are your expectations for this year?
“I really didn’t have any expectations so that I would have been disappointed, but now I would probably say to be great.”

 

Liryel Gaspareto, 17, Brazil

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to do the exchange year because I wanted to have some life experience before going to college; and also coming here would give me five month more to decide what I want to do in college. I also really wanted to experience a new culture, make new friends and study.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
The thing that I like the most is probably the school system where you can decide your classes and study what you really like.

What do you miss most?
The thing I miss the most about my country is the food and my friend.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
I would totally suggest going on an exchange because I think it gives you the possibility to experience so many different things while you also go through some difficulty that makes you stronger. The language experience is also a big part of it, giving yourself the possibility to challenge your English skills every day.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
People thought that I was crazy, because I would have to study five month more than I would if I stayed back home. My friend were also really afraid that I may have not like my host family, but I got here and I really really liked the place and my family.

What are your expectations for this year?
“My expectation for this year is to learn new things, study things that I like and make more friends.”

 

Cecilia Bach, 15, Denmark

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
The opportunity to meet a lot of new people and get to see how it is to live as a real American.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
What also really like is the all school experiences such as going to the football game and be part of the soccer team. I love playing soccer.

What do you miss most?
What I miss the most  from home is definitely watching champion league with my dad but also public transportation and of course my family and friends.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
Of course I would recommend being an exchange student because it’s such a unique experience and a great way to do something different.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
I think people back home are proud of me but also think that I am crazy because they couldn’t imagine leaving your own family and friends for ten months.

What are your expectations for this year?
“I expect to have an amazing year where I get to experience a lot of new things.”

Paulina Dreja, 16, Germany

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I just wanted to try something new, I wanted to learn a totally different culture and different way of living.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I really like the fact that school starts almost at 9 p.m., which for me is really late! I really like the people I met here too.

What do you miss most?
What I miss the most is the German bread and probably all the food in general. Obviously, I miss my family and friends.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
Sure. It’s always great to have the possibility to look at things in a different way because I’ve never thought about how things are different here before coming and having the possibility to meet all these new people is amazing.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
Some of my friends back home are doing the same experience and they really support me.

What are your expectations for this year?
“I didn’t really expect anything, because I knew that if what I would have found here would have been different from what I thought I would have been disappointed.”

 

Javier Garcia, 15, Spain

Why did you decide to do the exchange year?
I decided to do this exchange year to learn English and to get to know a new country.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
I really like the high school system.

What do you miss most?
Probably my friends and my family.

Would you suggest doing an exchange year? Why?
Yes, because it is a good opportunity to make new friends and to learn a new language.

What do people back home think about your exchange year?
They were a little bit confused at first, I’m pretty sure they also thought I was kinda crazy.

What are your expectations for this year?
“I don’t really have any expectations for this year, I just want to completely learn the language and make a lot of new friends.”

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