“Nice T-shirt,” said the flight attendant. Written on the front was “Student Travel Bureau… Since 1970, and on the back it said, “High School Program. ” I was so excited that I did not miss the opportunity to tell her I was coming, and was from Brazil. It was my second flight on the first day in the famous America. I had left from the largest city in my country on the day before on my way to the United States of America; I was coming to become an exchange student, become fluent in another language, do my last year of high school, and live part of a dream, to live like an American.
I have been living in Lemmon, a little town located in South Dakota. I’ll be here for ten months, a school year. I had been studying the English language for four years but I just wished to become a foreign exchange student last year (2013) when one of my best friends told me that she would be and she tried to convince me.
In the beginning I did not take the idea very seriously, but after some days, I was reunited with my best friends and she was trying to convince me so we could have the same experience together and another one of my friends that had been an exchange student, lived in Canada for six months, told me that I have nothing to lose and also told me that it is an awesome experience that is hard to describe. So I went talk about it with my parents, I was not having a good relationship with them since some months before, but I created courage and asked them if I could.
They told me that they would be willing to pay and help me if I demonstrated more interest, did whatever it took to go, and became a better son for the time I had left in Brazil. I didn’t waste time, I got the paperwork from the English school that is partners of a Brazilian company who partners with an American company (International Student Exchange). I had a deadline of two and a half months to get done, and everything got done in one and a half months. Getting my profile in the system earlier made it easier and faster to be chosen by a family. I was chosen almost 4 months before the average date to departure.
Now I live with an American family, the couple has two sons and a daughter. I made good friends and I’m doing pretty well here, despite everything be different than I was accustomed. Culture, food, life style, schedules, timetable, and behavior are different here but I’m not surprised because I knew that would be like that. I didn’t give it up and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. A lot of people here do not know much about my country. Some people think my country is just soccer, The Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, and beaches because they don’t study about other countries as they usually study their country.
My country is all of this and so much more, for example being one of the five major grain producers of the world, and the major soybean producer of the world. 60% of Amazon rainforest is in Brazil. The Amazon rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is one of the world’s greatest natural resources, called “Lungs of our Planet”. About 20% of earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest. I have been living here for two months and already know I’m not the same anymore. I changed my way of thinking, certainly better, more comprehensive and objective, always seeking my future goals, dreaming, and striving to reach them.
That is the American dream, to dream, aspire, strive to realize, and be free as an eagle. Before my experience gets done, I already know that all citizens of the whole world need to know more about their own country and try to transform their country to be a better place, be more proud and patriotic of their country. I may think the American people are crazy and weird because their culture and life style are different than mine, but I admire them for being honest, patriotic, proud, and to be nice with foreign people, all of that is facilitating my life here. America is amazing, I’m really glad to have the opportunity to live here.