Should I Participate in an Exchange Program?

I’ve been back in Hungary for 2 weeks and I kind of had time to think through this whole year. I asked several questions from myself and one was, “Was this year worth it?” It’s a question which seems easy to answer but after doing a little deep thinking I came up with an in depth review of my year studying in California.

If you and your family are considering in applying for an exchange program but don’t know wether it’s worth it or not, well here is my opinion after completing a high school year in Los Angeles.

This year definitely changed me in many ways. The fact that I was away from my family was sometimes hard but in an exchange program it’s good, because it makes you responsible. Before I had gone to Los Angeles my parents always did everything for me. They made food for me, they drove me everywhere, and they also helped with all my problems. In LA I was living with a host family but honestly they didn’t really care about me. I was pretty much on my own and I had to learn how to be responsible. Being more responsible made me feel really proud of myself and I felt like i’m an adult, it was awesome!

Gaining responsibility was one of the most useful things however I also changed in many other ways. American, or Californian culture to be more specific is very different than in my country Hungary. Everything is more laid back, people are really nice to each other, easy going and funny. In Hungary everything is pretty much the opposite. People are rude to each other, always depressed, and they want bad for other people. I realized this when I came back. It’s really sad but it made me feel disappointed in my country. I also feel like I assimilated with the culture in California and i’m different from other people in Hungary which in my opinion is amazing because i’m able to think differently from other people.

My favorite thing from this year was the adventures. Los Angeles is such an interesting city and it seems like it’s full with surprises and adventures. Getting the full high school experience included parties as well which I had only seen in movies before. I made so many friends it’s unreal. I didn’t have a driving license so I could have a car which made me take the bus everywhere. Looking back to it, it wasn’t a bad thing because I was able to explore the city.

My host parents didn’t restrict me from going out so I felt free. It was a wonderful feeling. I could go anywhere with anyone at any time. It felt like I’m finally living life.

If you have the chance to participate in an exchange program but you don’t know if you should go, I really encourage you to go. It doesn’t matter what city or country you go to, it will be a lot of fun. Not a lot of people can allow themselves to send their children to a program like this so you should appreciate this great opportunity and take it.

I had couple friends who didn’t want to go but their parents sent them. They actually ended up leaving the program in couple months. If this is the case with you my advice is be open for new things and view this as a gift. It’s an opportunity in your life that you will never have again.

If you have any other questions about my experience you can leave a comment and I will be happy to answer. Also if you want me to write a blog post about a specific topic I will be happy to do that as well.

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End of the Exchange Program

The exchange program ended a week ago and I’m already home in Hungary. I’ve been here for 1 week so far and it was just great seeing everyone again.

Coming back to Hungary was a really interesting experience for me because I was really confused. I was having a great time in LA and I would have definitely stayed longer, however I already missed my family and Hungary too. So it was a really weird feeling that it didn’t matter that I was going home.

To be honest I kind of already miss LA and all the things I’ve done there. I was expecting to be able to relax a lot when I come home but I turned out I have a lot of things to do. I’m really busy and I didn’t have a lot of time to do fun stuff.

I’ve made a big decision and I decided to stay in Hungary for my senior year in High School. I would really like to attend an American school in Hungary but the only problem is that it’s really hard to get in for senior year. I already went and wrote the test to apply and I hope for the best.

The reason why I decided to stay in Hungary is because I’m going to university in America anyways and I’m not going to see my parents for a long time. I feel like this is my last opportunity to spend 1 more year with my family before I move on the university.

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Second Half

I finally arrived back to LA after an 20 hour trip from Budapest. First I had to flight to Munich and from there to LA.

After a 3 week break I’m back and I have to keep doing what I started. In my opinion this 2nd semester will pass a lot slower, since there won’t be that many new experiences. Some things will change but it won’t be that relevant.

It will be a lot of fun seeing all my friends again, going out and doing things. It will also be fun going back to school cause honestly I already started to miss it. However I’m sure after a couple weeks I’m gonna change my mind and miss the break.

I believe this semester in school will be harder because I will change some of my classes. I will also join track or golf, I haven’t decided which one yet but I’m looking forward to it. I also have some plans and goals outside the school which I’m going to keep everyone updated about.

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I’m Going to Have a Roommate

I wrote and email to the family like 4 days ago and they still haven’t replied. I hope they have internet connection in their home otherwise I can’t talk to my family and friends and that would be really sad.

Anyways, I got some great news and I am really cheerful. It turned out I’m not going to be the only exchange student in the house, because there will be another kid and he will be my roommate. At first I was very nervous about this since they said I’m going to have a separate room. It’s definitely going to be a new experience for me since I’ve never had a roommate and I’m a only child. But now  I realised everything will be so much easier because we are going to be going through the same things.

Having a roommate could be the worst thing, but also it could be the best thing ever. If we share similar interests then it will probably be the best. I contacted him and he is from Finland. He looks like a cool, easy going guy to me and I hope we will be great friends. Also he will be attending the same school as me (Birmingham Community Charter HS) and if he would be my classmate it would be unbelievable, but of course there is a little chance because the school is huge.

I don’t have my visa yet but on Friday my family and I are going in the american embassy. Hopefully I will get my visa early next week. Honestly I can’t wait for this program to start, I’m so excited.

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Host Family Selected

So finally the host family was selected. Or actually to be more precise I was selected by the host family.

I got the info of the family and all I have to say is that I’m pretty happy. They seem like they are a nice family. I had been really nervous about the family before it was selected because I was hoping for an outgoing, helpful, easy going family. It’s not confirmed that they are but they seem like it so I’m quite relieved.

I checked the address of their home and I think it’s in a good location. It could be closer the the downtown and the beach, but it could be worse so i’m not going to complain. It’s not too far from my school and it’s very close to restaurants, markets…

They have a children who is 15 years old (1 year younger than me) and honestly I’m really happy about it. I don’t have a brother or sister and I wanted to experience living with another children similar to my age.

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No Turning Back

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So today finally my Dad payed the first section of the exchange program. I feel really elated but the truth is the pressure is increasing on me because I know there is no turning back now. I feel like I’ve made a good decision and I need to do this in order to achieve my goals in life.

The next step will be the visa. I’ll get an F-1 visa and this means I can leave the country any time and go back. There is another type of visa called the J-1, but with this visa, once you leave the country you can’t go back. The J-1 visa was not good for me since I would like to spend the holidays and the vacations with my family.

I still don’t know when will the school start exactly, but somewhere around at the end of August I think.

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Exchange Program Confirmed

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Today I finally received my confirmation email from Educatius that everything was ok with my application and they accepted me.

Honestly I’ve never thought that this dream would come true for me. It was a really long process choosing the city, the school, writing the test, filling out the papers and going through medical examination. Choosing the school took the most time and to be honest it was a pain in the ass, but at the end I found a school in Los Angeles, California that met my requirements.

I can’t thank my family enough for this opportunity and I feel like this is the first step achieving my goal, getting into one of the top 10 universities in America.

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