Hello there, everyone!!
I’m Charlotte, and I had the opportunity to spend 10 months at the Florida shore during the 21/22 academic year! I’m guessing that if you’re reading this right now, you’re thinking about spending some time outside of your native country, or maybe you’re just gathering information as I was a year ago… And let me tell you, when I made the decision to leave my home country for a few months, I was both excited and nervous because I had no idea what to expect or how things would turn out. Now, about a year later, I can say without a doubt that I haven’t regretted this decision at all.
I knew I had made the correct decision when I stepped off the plane and saw my host family standing at the airport with a giant “Welcome to the United States of America, Charlotte” sign! I realized I had been given the opportunity to live my dream for the next ten months. We did a lot the week I arrived because the school hadn’t started yet, so I had about a week to get to know my host family before things got busier. We went to the beach, watched movies, ate out, and watched the sunset. I was quite fortunate that I was able to quickly assimilate into my host family! And after what felt like a vacation on the Florida coast for the first week, the school was ready to start! Niceville High School had around 2000 students and offered a diverse range of sports and clubs. I did track and field for the first semester and had a lot of fun with my teammates; we went to football games together, drove about after practice, or simply hung out at someone’s house. As a result, I quickly felt at ease and did not experience any homesickness!! Not only that, but by the time Christmas rolled around, I’d already done a lot of traveling, and now we were set to go on our first big journey as a family, a road trip over the holidays! I saw six new states in ten days, had a lot of fun with my host family, and we all made memories we’ll never forget!
By the end of our vacation, the second semester had begun, and my life was still extremely different from what it had been in Germany, which made me appreciate my life in the United States even more; every day of high school brought something new, something exciting! Until spring break, life went on as usual; I spent the majority of my time with my friends, and we had all grown incredibly close by that point, just as I had with my host family! However, I became so close with one of my friends that we went on a trip together with her family, and this vacation made me feel like I was in a true American movie; during spring break, I had the opportunity to visit Vegas, Los Angeles, and Hollywood, and there I truly made lifelong memories! It was fantastic!
The last quarter of school had begun, and the weather was getting great again, much like my life when I returned. I spent every single second of my free time at the beach, either with my host family or with my friends. We drove home together, stopped for ice cream, then drove along the coast blasting our favorite songs. It was the life I never expected to have that absolutely satisfied me! And then finals, graduation, the last vacation with my host family, the last days at the beach, and a farewell party regretfully had to bring my year to a close.
Overall, I’d like to encourage you to take the leap of faith. In the last ten months, I’ve been able to create memories that no one will ever be able to take away from me, as well as opportunities for my future! Every worry I’ve ever had, I’ve been able to disprove and turn into an opportunity. To sum up, when I asked my grandmother if I had changed over time, she replied, “You got a lot more confident and so much more independent, but your character Charlotte kept the same.” Thank you very much to everyone!!