19 de agosto de 2011

A year abroad

1999 was a year that changed my life. I was just a 15 year-old girl enjoying life in my own way. After one year of researching, planning and arguing I convinced my parents to give me an exchange program experience.

There I went to my year abroad. The farthest I’d ever been to was the neighborhood state. And suddenly I was catching my first plane to thousands of kilometers away, to a country which I badly spoke the language.

At first, I didn’t like the idea of being thrown in the middle of the USA. In my childish dream I wanted to go live in California. But in exchange programs you don’t choose, but you are chosen.

So I was chosen by a Dawn, Missouri family. Dawn is a village with 100 or so inhabitants. I had never been away for too long from my 20 million people city so what a change!

I was worried that I’d be bored. But what I didn’t realize at first was that for a shy girl like me nothing would be better than being in the country side, surrounded by people who care about you. I was a perfect fit. Destiny… good destiny.

The people I met, the experiences I shared with them, could not have been better. My host family, the Neptune’s, was so nice that today I consider them my extended family. Their values and their love for each other helped shape who I am.

In Missouri I learned that you don’t need much to be happy and that life can be fun, true and simple.

I saw and understood the beauty of empty fields.

It was a very important year of my life and I’ve always knew it. But, thinking back now I realized something new. One of the most important lessons I learned then was to be humble. I learned that every culture has its value and need to be respected. It made me humble for real. Not because people tell you to be.

I am happy I have had this experience at such early age and I can’t image who I’d be without it. Probably I’d be more self-centered, small and narrow minded person.

For all that I’ve written, I encourage anyone who is willing to travel. Any kind of trip or adventure is worth it. So go ahead. It is probably going to change your life too! Even if you are not fifteen anymore.

The only problem of having a year abroad is to want to have more years abroad.