When some students first hear about exchange, they hear only that they’re leaving their home, their family, their friends and their way of life behind. For some students however, they hear about finding a second home, another family, and making more friends and creating a new life. This is what exchange is about. Being here in the Czech Republic for six months has shown that it is difficult, but rewarding to start over again.

I have been with a total of three host families now and I’m happy to be able to say I’ve found two families who I feel truly a part of. My second host family, who I was with for three months took me on trips around the Czech Republic to try and show me the best parts of their culture. They’ve also been super kind to try and help teach me Czech and they always encouraged me to speak more and try to learn new words in class everyday. In my third and final host family, I can communicate the best with them since my host parents, my four younger siblings, and I, can all speak French. I feel more connected and more involved in this family because of that fact since I can communicate with them better, though it may not be Czech, it still goes to show how important it is to speak the same language.

In school, unfortunately none of my classmates are fluent in French, but it gives me the motivation to learn Czech so that it’s easier to talk to everyone. Luckily however I’ve found some great friends at school who enjoy speaking English and teaching me Czech. Since I live in a small town here I’m not sure how I would survive without them. Outside of school, I’ve found even more friends from across the world. I’ve got to meet exchange students from Australia, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Taiwan and more and they’ve all become my family here. Since we’re all going through the same or similar experiences together we try to always be there for each other. So in a sense you are never alone because you have someone there to help you. The exchange family means the world to me.

When first hearing about exchange, it might seem scary at first, and it will be difficult along the way but it’s just a part of learning how to grow. By going on exchange you experience a million of different things and you become better and more mature because of it. In my case I found two amazing host families and amazing friends at school and outside of it. Starting another life in a new country isn’t as daunting as it may seem as long as you have the courage and determination to create one.

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