Wening Sukma Rasyida (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

“Doing an exchange year is like riding a rollercoaster. There will be so many up and down and up again, scream and shout, all the laugh and tears.”

It’s still remain clearly in my mind; the excitement of stepping onto the airplane that was gonna take me to my exchange journey in the United States, all the hope and concerns that I had (and several, still have) as an Indonesian youth ambassador through my KL-YES exchange program that I take . 6 months almost been passed on this ride, this crazy rollercoaster ride called “exchange”, they said. Believe me folks, nobody ever told me that being an exchange student will be one of the challenging things I’ve ever done (and still going on), even much more than just riding a regular rollercoaster. When the airplane that took me to reach this scholarship landed in my host city, I know right at that time, how to dream with an open eyes.

6 months almost been passed, I learnt so much more than I thought I was. Learning to completely adapt to a new culture that completely different and the culture shock hit me anywhere anytime in any unpredictable moment, in a country that I’ve always dreamt to be there since I was a kid, a new language that I used to have a really bad score when I was in the elementary school but now I get really comfortable with it, a school that has completely different studying system, to be crazy with my friends, and of course adapting to my hostfamily, the most important component of my exchange year.

6 months almost been passed, I build a strong relation with friends and family here, spending time and living the present rather than just crazy thinking about my departure date and the farewell that as the time I typed it though, I realize it’s gonna come soon and I promise myself that I’m not gonna let the rest of my stay here meaningless without friends and family that I can always rely to and gonna be my full time friends and family of life.

6 months almost been passed, I’m starting to learn how to be a real American. Having cheese in every meal and having a strong passion with macaroni and cheese, learning another languange, Spanish, which is also common here in America.

6 months almost been passed, tolerance and openness really have a whole new meaning to me nowadays. To be open to everything, doing new things, trying new foods, and the important things is to learn how to bit my tongue and go with the flow because not everything is always going to be under my control.

6 months almost been passed, I found myself enjoying to give a real positive impact to the society, eventhough it just a small things through some volunteering job. Currently I’m involved in Mr./Ms. Spartan, it’s a fundraiser program in my school, Corvallis High School, and all the money that we raise will be donated to those people who needs back in Corvallis, the amazing city where I currently live through KL-YES program, under the AFS-USA.

6 months almost been passed, as in a ‘regular’ rollercoster ride, of course there were so many up and downs. I’m glad that I’m here, I really learn which one is good which one is bad, what should I do if I’m facing a problem or choice.

6 months almost been passed, everyday presents a new challenge for me and with that everday is a new experience I learn to appreciate. I discover things about myself that I never knew. Doing things I thought it was impossible for me and I know now that I already changed in so many things, in a magnificent ways through the whole proccess. From just a simple thing like the portion of each meal I take in my plate, my sense of humor, my favorite coffe shop until the way I see the world in tolerance and peace.

The amount of what I gain today by being an exchange student, compared to 6 months ago, is unimaginably. By this gain, I do not mean materialistic items or weight, I mean it in a good ways, in knowledge, friends, family, a new home. Friends from all over the world, who’d happily help to go through the good, the bad, and the ugly, forever bonding in a ways I could never have imagined. Not only that, but I get a whole other family to call my own. At first I begin as strangers, of course there’s so much awkwardness and uncertainty but that is what brings me together and make me blend to be a part of them. The fact that no matter how far away I am, here and there, there will always be my second family and another place I can call as “home”.

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