Jeremiah, Outbound to India

One's mother tongue is Spanish, the other's is Danish, and the third's is French. I speak English. Yet we are brothers.

I figured I would make great friends during my exchange year, but I never expected to create the type of bonds I have developed with the Chalo Boys. "Chalo" mean's "Let's go" in Hindi and our gang of four -- the Chalo Boys -- are always on the go and up for anything. Poncho of Mexico, Andreas of Denmark, and Amaury of Belgium, and Jeremiah of the the US -- the Chalo Boys.

As for language, I have learned that it doesn't matter where we come from or what language we speak, we are all capable of loving each other.

I feel strongly that the most important part of my exchange has been the connections I have made with others... my dear host family members, my fellow students at school, all the great adults in the Rotary Club of Mumbain. But forever holding a special place in my heart will be the other exchange students from all over the world. Our bonds are strong.

I am amazed by the idea that, in the future, I will be able to go almost anywhere in the world and have a great friend waiting for me -- someone who also shared this exchange adventure in India.

I also have been extremely lucky with both host families I have stayed with. In the first family I had two host brothers, one 18 and the other 14, who I became extremely close with. When my older host brother, Kabir, left for his exchange in Italy I really felt my brother was leaving. He did so much for me such as show me how to get around the city and introduce me to his friends. However, after he left I started to get very close with my younger host brother Divyum. I would do things like help him with his homework and play soccer with him and his friends. My first host mom helped me so much with completing all the formalities necessary to be in Índia and she also let me host small get together with the other exchange students so we could get to know each other better. When leaving for my second host family we were all holding back tears.

My second host family is very different but equally as great. My host parents have two children but their son, Aryan, is on exchange in Spain and their daughter, Namrata, was studying acting in New York for the first two months I was at their house. I was worried because I relied on my host siblings so much in my first host family, but my concern quickly disappeared because my host parents are so nice with me and we enjoy talking to each other. For example, I am not a huge fan of some very popular Indian dishes so when my family has those dishes for dinner my host mom will make me something she knows I like.

I love all my host family members and will be so sad to say good bye.

I know that saying goodbye to these people who have done and mean so much to me will be extremely hard but the fact that I know we will see each other again all around the world puts a smile on my face.

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