The Biggest Change in my Life so Far
“Okay, guys I have to make a quick announcement!” Our teacher held up the brochures so all the students could see them, “These are brochures filled with information about an opportunity to become an exchange student and experience different parts of the world. I will pass them around so you may look at them.”
When my friend, Jenny and I received ours, we started reading immediately. I was impressed at all the colorful and bright pictures of high schools with their animal mascots, host families who were smiling into the camera together with their exchange students, football players on the field and cheerleaders who were stunting in a gym in the U.S. The picture of the cheerleaders captured my attention. Two girls were standing on the floor with the third girl’s feet on their shoulders, who was holding her arms up tight. I thought it was impossible to do such stunts, but I could almost feel the spirit and team work that made it possible. I also loved the host families’ pictures. I imagined how it must feel to live with a foreign family for a long time. I felt that I wanted to experience a life in another country and to learn about its people and culture.
I was constantly dreaming of going to a different country for ten months, of living together with a host family and of going to a high school, but it was almost the end of grade ten and I thought there was absolutely no possible chance for me to do this in my following year of school.
“I would love to do an exchange year in the U.S. It’s too bad that I am late in applying for this.”, I said with a disappointed voice.
When Jenny said, “No, you’re not! You’re probably too late to apply for one in grade eleven but you also can do it in grade twelve.” I regained my hopes of going to the U.S. as an exchange student.
I applied for an organization called “Stepin” that had a partner organization “PAX” in the U.S. I had to fill out many forms about my hobbies, my dreams, my strengths and weaknesses. Also, I had to write what I thought about Americans and a letter to my future host family.
I have been in Vermont for three months now. I have to say that I am proud of myself for taking the steps, and being brave enough to make a decision, that would give me an opportunity I may never have experienced otherwise.
There is a great difference between the German and American culture. However, after leaping into this opportunity, it feels as though I can accomplish anything. The fear of going from high school to college just isn’t so scary anymore.