I Found My Second Home

Prili K Apsari (INA YES to USA 15–16)

Many people asked me, “How does it feel being away from home?”, “Would you still remember your home country when you get back there?”, “Why would you even want to live in a completely different country for a year?” After I heard those questions, I asked myself if there should be answers for those, but this awesome year in the United States is the answer for that, being away from home is not something that we have to be scared of, it’s actually something that we have to be delighted of.

I couldn’t believe myself that I’m going back home pretty soon, it really feels like I have only been here for a few weeks. Deep down, I have had this sort of mixed feelings, when I feel like I’m glad to go back to my country, seeing my family and friends again, but it also saddens me that I’m going to leave all the memories that I’ve had here, living here as an exchange student has been really great!

I still remember those days when my friends and I were counting down the days to our departure day, we were really excited that we have been chosen to be exchange students from our country, we were impatiently imagining what we were going to have in our exchange year, which we sure thought that it was going to be really great! But, of course everyone has different definitions of “great”, but me personally, I define “great” as something that would make me a better person, and obviously with happiness as well!

I knew the United States mostly from the American movies that I have watched, I think it’s really amazing how American culture can influence all the countries in the world, but, after I have experienced American life by myself, I feel like it’s actually different from the movies that I have watched, it’s actually much better. Here, I have learned a lot about diversity, it’s amazing how there are so many people from different parts of the world come to America to live! Besides, I also discover myself more, there are so many things that I never knew I had them before I came here, being away from home doesn’t make me feel strange, it actually makes me learn more about myself!

Here, I found so many lovable people that have been taking care of me, if we think about it, aren’t they just strangers? But the word “stranger’ itself doesn’t really make sense to me, because we’re all humans, and if we don’t know each other yet, we can surely get to know each other better! Anyway, yes, there are so many people here that have helped me discover their cultures more, American people are really caring, open-minded, and understanding people, they can see various things from many different perspectives, I’ve had a really great time here mostly because of their help! If I have to choose one best thing that has happened to me, I don’t think I could choose one specific event, because all of the things that have happened made me glad in their different ways.

However, there were some things that I found really interesting to share, the first one was when I went to a banquet that was sponsored by the United Nations and was held by one of the universities around here, the United Nations’ representative was representing their ideas to make world a better place, which really related to my life’s goals, I have always wanted to work at one of the world’s organizations. Secondly, I also experienced my first American prom ever, it was a really great experience!

For my dearest host families, thank you so much for taking care of me while I’m here, it has been a really great year in the United States, I have experienced lots of things that have given me life lessons, you have made my exchange year became much more fun! I will always remember the trip that we took to Kansas City (which was my first time ever being outside Kansas), the day when we performed as a family at the church, you guys have made me more confident! Also, I will always remember how you guys always make time to see me either at the bowling meet or swim meet, I truly appreciate it. I will always love each one of you! Last but not least, I would like to thank all the people that have been taking care of me while I’m here, especially to my both host families, without them I wouldn’t be able to fully experience an American experience. I would like to thank my family back home that has supported me along my journey. Also, for all the people and Bina Antarbudaya that have supported me so far. :)

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