“I couldn’t ask for a better family, it suited me perfectly! I tried to spend as much time as I could with them. I’ve been really treated like a daughter, and like a sister, from my host parents and host siblings, and that really helped. Every time I felt something was wrong I tried hard to fix it, because having a family backing you up was the best feeling. At the beginning I had some problems not to think about my real family, and it was hard to behave like I was comfortable in every situation. Despite that I got more and more used to their lifestyle, and in a matter of weeks I was already forgetting about my initial sadness.
I noticed how important it is to learn everything possible about the story of the family, and how this can help to be part of conversation regarding relatives or funny stories about something happened in the past.
I really loved Mercer Island High school, I think that being in such an amazing building, such an interesting atmosphere helped me a lot through my experience. I found in MIHS a place where to experience a real school spirit, some of my best memories are from some MIHS events. It was a pleasure going to every football game, every extra practice, or staying a little bit longer to study in a class with some friends. You were always sure to find someone, classmates or teachers, to help you. The important thing is to try your best to be easy going with everybody, and not to get really attached to somebody at the beginning, so that you have the chance to explore the school better, before you start getting too involved in a group.
Another thing I noticed is that the teachers are always eager to hear what the exchange students have to say, so it’s important to show your interest at any time. I always did my best in every class, also not to disappoint the teachers that make you feel part of the class from the very first day.
For a teenager making such an experience is something that can really make you change. To me, it was one of the most important of my life, and I’m glad about how it went and what I’ve learnt through it. All the things I’ve seen made me see everything with a different perspective. Every day was like discovering a whole new bunch of things, and knowing you don’t have a lot of time makes you want to exploit it all.
Now I know more about the world, and even if I still don’t know enough, at least this experience made me want to explore it better. It’s like I’ve done a huge effort that made me desire to do something more to continue this kind of experience in my life.”