name is Ana, and I am from Brazil. Some times I thought about how be an
exchange student would change my life. I always lived in a small city in
Brazil, where my day-day had been the same. I was starting the college,
living with my parents, expending my time with friends...But something was
missing when I imagined my life in the future.
I want to feel intense
emotions, know different places and be fluent in other language. So, be an
exchange student is a opportunity to learn, is not only about have fun,
because I have to face difficulties like homesick and adaptation. Imagine
living with families that you never knew or start from scratch to make
friends. Is not one week, but one year that I will be here; I have to forget
what's happens between my friends in Brazil and keep me busy, because if
not, I'll be sad and want to go back.
I was disorganized in Brazil with my stuff, but here is not my house, I
have to be organized! My parents used to say "how you can be a person here,
and another there?", and I said "Moral has nothing in common with
discipline". But my way to see the things is changing, and I know that in
the final of this exchange student I will have grown and matured very.
I was in the airport in August 11, day to farewell my Parents, my dad
just cried and no reaction from my mom. I hugged them and said “ I love you,
see you again after one year”, I didn’t felt sad or scary, I was curious,
wishing go. This would be the first flight of my life, I was really excited
to live all the experiences that was waiting for me. The door to the world
was finally being open, and into in this plain was like make the fist step
I thought travel by plain was more excited, with some adrenaline, but I
just felt dizzy when the plain took off and landed. I was surprised in see a
metro station in the airport of Miami, I had never took one, this was the
first time. When I arrived in Jacksonville my Counselor was holding plates
“WELCOME TO FLORIDA ANA”, my eyes filled with tears when I saw, because I
was too happy to believe that my dreams was becoming true.
The city where I will live the whole year is Saint Augustine, and I believe
when people say that is one of the most beautiful cities in US, is the
oldest too, with a lot of history. My first impression about here in
contrast with my country is that here in US doesn't have walls around the
houses and the cities are really organized and clean. The wash dishes it’s
something not common in Brazil, and the sink disposal still scare me.
The Rotary made a welcome party for me and the others exchange students that
are living in same town that me. In this party I had the opportunity to meet
them and all my host families, including Michael, the boy from Palatka that
is living with my parents in Brazil now. Hug everybody with a kiss is common
in Brazil "especially when you are going to live in their houses or spend a
long time together", so in the beginning here I just couldn’t accept a wave
of hand, but now I understand that this doesn’t mean that people don’t like
The first Inbound Orientation Weekend, with all the exchanges from
Florida was amazing, I made friends who I always contact to exchange
experiences. The Brazilians are a big group, and we had a lot of fun making
jokes with each other because the different accents we have from different
regions in our country. But I hang out often with the exchanges students
from my district, whose are from other countries in the world. They became
good friends of mine and we have great moments like when we went in the
beach once in Jacksonville, or the Inbound Weekend that my Rotary District
In this weekend we had a lot of fun, they came to my town, we did tours
in the old city, we took a boat, where we saw many dolphins, was fantastic!
After we went in the beach and visit the alligator farm, etc... I remember
the first time when I supposedly saw a dolphin here, and it was really close
to me and my friends, "It is a shark or a dolphin?" we just left the water
If you ask me what I did with my host families, I can said that I went in
Orlando once, to the Universal Park, or in Alaska for some days… What?? Yes,
I went in Alaska, one of the most wonderful places that I have never been, a
gorgeous view and the local people are very friendly. Was my first
experience with snow, and now I know how this can hurt you, because it’s
The thanksgiving became one of my favorites holidays, and my host family
celebrated for the whole week, a lot of people, delicious food and football.
How could I not get fat in America? All the cookies and "Chicken Fill A"
that I love! The time is going fast, and I don’t have time to homesick, the
only I can said it’s that some days I wake up more excited than others, but
I'm glad that My English is improving and that I started to understand the
point of view of Americans better.