Well what can I say. Tuesday was the 5 month marker of my exchange. I know it’s cliché but I really have no idea where the time has gone and it scares me to think that it is going this fast. I have already completed one half of my exchange. It’s almost been a year since I found out that I was going to France in the first place, something I was reminded of last weekend as we had a day long orientation for our new “outbounds” (the french students who are doing the exchange next year). I’m almost jealous of them because their journey is just beginning. But I’m going to go with a “glass half full” attitude because I still have about 5 months and I am going to make the most out of them!
Last Sunday we had a lot of fun. I am always happy to have a chance to spend time with the other exchangers. This particular day we weren’t all there, there where only about 15 of us but we had a great time anyway. Whenever we are together we never fail to smile and that’s what really counts. I also met and talked with several other kids who are going to be going on exchange next year. Many that I talked to put the U.S. as one of their country choices but other than that I found the choices very diverse. India seemed to be very popular, which I thought was cool. One of the things I love about “outbound” weekends is that it is really a time for us “inbounds” to talk about our countries and our cultures and explain some differences. I have found that the more I do it, the more I enjoy it. It’s very enriching, as well to hear the others talk about their countries and their cultures. It makes me want to travel even more!
Anyway, back to sharing our countries. I really like talking about the U.S. because I feel that many people think they already know what it’s like even if they have never been there or maybe because they went on vacation there one time. I guess it’s a result of the fact that a great deal of people watch American movies and T.V. series and so they base their judgements on that. What people don’t realize is that the U.S. is a huge country and it’s people are so diverse. Even I don’t know my own country that well considering I’ve never seen the middle or western part. But what I can confirm for people is this: No we don’t all live in huge mansions, drive big gas guzzling trucks or eat at Mcdonalds every day of they week because contrary to common belief, we actually know how to cook.
It’s not easy to be an “ambassador” to one’s country. I try to explain to people that I can not be a representative of the entire U.S. and that there really is no typical American. That’s where it gets difficult because I know that people are going to judge the U.S. and Americans based on what they think of me and what they hear me say about my country. This is why I think we are lucky to be a large group of Americans in our Rotary district because that really helps to demonstrate our diversity. It’s almost as if each state is it’s own small country and so we are all “ambassadors” for our individual states.
Alright I’ll stop talking now. Here are some pictures. Enjoy! 🙂
From Left (starting with the girl)” Argentina, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, U.S., Finland, U.S., U.S., Turkey
In Front from Left: Taiwan, (I’m not sure at the moment but I believe North or South Korea), Indonesia.
(I’m doing what I do best of course)
(France, Ecuador, U.S., Finland)