2012-03-09 / Community

The American Experience Of An Exchange Student

By Carolina Campos Rotary International Exchange Student Special To The Wave


Carolina Campos with host family, Jerry and Maureen Walsh, on a visit to the Statue of Liberty. Carolina Campos with host family, Jerry and Maureen Walsh, on a visit to the Statue of Liberty. The Rotary Exchange Program is a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures and languages, and have new experiences that will influence you throughout your entire life. I am Carolina, a seventeen-year-old girl from Brazil.

Since I was young, I always wanted to be an exchange student and my family supported this idea.

I applied for the program, submitted my application, passed the interview process and then received the great news that I would come to Rockaway, NY.

When I arrived here in October, even with all the scary Halloween decorations, I realized how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful area. I could enjoy the end of the autumn and have fun on the “Trick or Treat” day. I attend Scholars’ Academy High School, as a senior. In the beginning it was hard to understand the classes. However, now I can do the homework, follow the lessons and have good averages in the exams.

As time passed I could not believe how much I was learning and experiencing about the American culture. November was marked by Thanksgiving, and as a tradition of my first host family, the Hansons, we went upstate and enjoyed a hearty holiday meal, including turkey and delicious apple pie.

Christmas spirit appeared in the windows and gardens and all the lights began to shine on the city as the 25th was approaching. On the radio, the music was announcing the beginning of “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Being away from my Brazilian family and friends was not easy on the holidays, but as an exchange student I couldn’t waiver and give up. Indeed, there are moments that everything becomes harder and you want someone to be responsible for your problems and make your decisions, but you need to figure things out yourself. After a while, everything became more familiar and not as different as I thought it was.

Time is passing so fast that sometimes I wish I could stop it. With the New Year I have moved to my second host family, the Walshes. I just want to enjoy every moment and learn the most I can.

This experience is also an opportunity to reflect about your life, about the different way people think; to learn, enjoy, and respect the different culture and believe in your capability to make a difference, and achieve the Rotary Exchange Program’s purpose, world peace.

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The Hanson's and the Walsh's

The Hanson's and the Walsh's should be congratulated for opening up their homes and their lives to this student. I think all concerned have benefited from the experience. Daniel Mirkin OD Past President Rockaway Rotary


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