How life can change in a split second...

Living in a multicultural society gives us plenty opportunities, it’s our decision how we choose to fructify them. Two years ago, I embarked on a journey that has undeniably changed my life. Freshman in high school, trying to discover myself, gradually becoming more confused about how I want my life to look like, I applied for the scholarship that didn’t only change my life trajectory, but it defined the person I am today. I have obtained a full grant to study a year in Colorado, in the USA with the FLEX Program.

My American year was full of cultural experiences. It all started by emerging myself into the Mexican customs and traditions. My Mexican host family allowed me to explore America through the eyes of diversity, they showed me a tight community united by difficulties and achievements. Celebrating Dias Los Muertos and other specific Mexican traditions enriched my experience and understanding of different cultures. Despite the false belief that an exchange year is lacking academic performance, I had the opportunity to attend Early College Academy, a high school that allowed students to take college classes and obtain university credits that can be later transferred towards your degree. Therefore, my year in America helped me discover my future plans, more specifically the fact that I would like to study international business. Volunteering is a substantial part of the American culture and it is probably the best way to meet people from different backgrounds while on your exchange. My volunteering experience was utterly diverse from Christmas Fund Raisers, Tree Planting to volunteering in a thrift shop. All activities offered me a better understanding of America’s “melting pot” and the sense of community that characterizes this beautiful culture. Probably, the most beautiful experience was my participation in the Workshop for Youth Leaders in Washington Dc, workshop where I learnt what I can do to help change the current old-fashioned educational systems. Visiting Washington Dc was one of my dreams ever since I was a little girl…never did I imagine I will accomplish it at the age of 16.

Spending a year 5000 miles away from your parents, your friends, from what you have known your entire life, will be extremely difficult, however, all the struggles are necessary so that you understand how important it is to come out of your comfort zone and fully exploit life. You might wonder what does the future look like after an exchange year? Two years later I still get to consider myself a foreigner discovering a new world in Denmark, studying to obtain my International Baccalaureate Diploma. So, it is safe to say the future looks bright.

Written by Maria Onciu

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