Travel often changes us–opening our eyes to new things and inspiring understanding and personal growth. Greenheart loves to hear from our past travelers. Here’s an update from Anehlina, a former Greenheart Exchange international high school student.
“I started my American school year at Chippewa Hills. During my exchange year, there were tons of impressions which will remain with me for life, I’m sure. When I first arrived, I felt like I entered a dream I’d never even thought of. Everything seemed so different – people, cities, landscapes, food, coffee, and what’s more important – the life approach.”
The first thing I remember from school is ease. And I don’t mean the studying itself. It’s more about easy-going teachers, some even became my friends. Also, students–they weren’t under pressure from cramming, hence were rather relaxed and chill. And that’s what I enjoyed the most. School wasn’t something I had to do, it was something I wanted to do as I could learn totally new subjects without stressing out over them.
My host family is deserving of a whole novel. They have truly become my closest people and to this day I call them Mom and Dad when we talk or chat. One remarkable thing about them is that it was the first time in my life I realized I can spend that much time with parents and enjoy it. We would talk all day long, drinking coffee, make s’mores by the evening bonfires, traveling, cooking, shopping, joking, and many more things I now remember with a smile. Thanks to them I became much closer with my real parents after coming back home to Ukraine as I implemented my experience in our family.
My biggest advice to future host families and exchange students is my life motto– “It’s not better, not worse, just different”. Stay open-minded and open-hearted. What you think is scary at first, might become your most adventurous experience in life.
After my exchange program, I got a bachelor’s degree in Philology studying English and French. I worked as an English teacher for a while when studying but found myself in affiliate marketing after graduating. My exchange program has probably been the biggest influence on my life. Now I can use the two most important things I learned in the U.S. – language and communication. This knowledge led me to my dream job. And of course, traveling. Once you start, you can never stop. Wandering around the globe is easy after spending a high school year so far away from home.”
Thank you Anhelina! And thank you to Lisa Jensen, Anhelina’s Greenheart Local Coordinator!
Does spending a high school year abroad sound like your cup of tea (or coffee)? If you are in the USA, and want to travel abroad –visit greenhearttravel.org. If you are anywhere else in the world and want to come to the USA for a high school year, visit greenheartexchange.org.
Interested in becoming a host family for international high school students like Anhelina? We’d love to hear from you! Learn more and apply at hostwithgreenheart.org.