My Life as an Exchange Student

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Eduarda Kehl, Contributing Writer

Hi, my name is Eduarda. I’m an exchange student from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I signed up to come to the United States for 10 months to experience the “American Dream” in high school. I first sent my application in April 2019 and I got my host family in July. I ended up here, Wyoming, Michigan, with a very nice host mom and two dogs. It is a very nice city and the people are very welcoming. I have to admit that I thought more people would be interested in knowing about me and about my culture, but only in the first-week people seemed to care about that. Some people think I came to live here because they don’t even know what an exchange student is. 

On the first day, many people came to talk to me when I told them I was an exchange student from Brazil. I’m really grateful that I got to sit with really nice people at lunch because now they’re my best friends. It was hard in the first months because I was always used to Brazilians that just invite you to everything and talk to you every day. Here in America, I feel like people are not as friendly as we are, and that is okay. It just took me a while to realize that, but adjusting to the culture is part of the exchange goals. 

Wyoming is really different from what I imagined. I thought it was going to be like in the movies: football players, cheerleaders and mean girls. What I realize when I got here is that the complete opposite. People are so nice and I’ve never seen a school with such cultural diversity and it makes me feel even better. I thought I was going to be the only foreign student and people would treat me differently, but this is not how it goes in Wyoming High School. 

The basketball season it’s almost over and I can tell that it was the best thing that happened so far involving the school. We don’t have school teams in Brazil and it was so fun to see everyone cheering for their friends and being proud of their school. It’s just so exciting and since I’m from Brazil, I got to experience many moments like this, in large crowds, but I never cheered that hard for my friends and my school. It makes me feel so thankful to be in this school and I actually got a little bit emotional in those games. The bleachers are just full of positive energy and I sometimes can feel the room shaking. 

Being away 10 months from home is not easy. I miss my family and friends and I can’t wait to see them, but I also don’t want to leave the life that I built in these 7 months. Now it’s the time I have to start planning my last moments here and it gives me chills to remember all the good things I got to see while I’m here in the US. I went to my first school dance with my friends, my first football and basketball games and the different people I got to meet. I can’t wait for what’s coming in the three months I have left. My friends, who were also exchange students, always told me that the last months are the best ones and that is what makes you not want to leave, and that is why I chose to stay 10 months, so I could live this dream for a little longer. People usually say that is too much time away and I’m going to miss the best part of being a teenager, but I always knew that this is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live. I’m living my best life and I already have so many stories to tell.