AFS exchange student Mick Moore writes monthly about his experiences in France.
I soon will be boarding a plane, flying over the Atlantic and returning home to Missouri. I will be able to see and hug all of my family and friends that I have not seen in over six months. I will be getting ready for school again, and returning to the life I had before I left on exchange.
Itís weird to think that I will actually be able to talk to these people face to face, whom I have only known through a screen for the last six months. I still really cannot grasp that shortly I will be leaving everything I have come to know and love in France, from the food to the culture to the most important thing ó my host-family. They are absolutely some of the best people I have ever met; they really have become my second family. We are able to joke, laugh, and fight together, exactly how a real family functions. I feel as comfortable with them as I do my real family; we can talk about anything together. And that is what I am going to miss most of all.
There are so many things I have learned here it really is difficult to know where to start. I guess the main things are that everyone really should just do what they feel is best for them, and just not worry. Just go explore the world while you are still young, before youíre older and regret not doing what you could have done. There are so many more things to experience outside of our close-knit rural community in central Missouri. If I could give a piece of advice to anyone, it would be to just try and open your eyes and see what is out there, try to keep an open mind and experience firsthand how others live.
Now I feel as if I have a certain connection with the world that not that many people have. Along with meeting French people and learning the French culture, I have met many people from around the world with AFS, and so now have a sense of their culture as well. Thatís why studying abroad is such a great and rewarding experience; you are able to broaden your horizons and feel more connected to the world around you, all while experiencing life in a different place. I feel grateful to AFS for helping me to accomplish my goal of spending a semester abroad. They have provided me with a perfectly suited host family and were always there for me when I needed them. They have a wonderful support system.
This time has gone by faster than I ever thought it would. Back in January, I felt as if I had all the time in the world, but now I have realized that no one has all the time in the world, so we must make the most of what we have in the little amount of time we have to do it.
I still may feel like an outsider here sometimes, and I may still have difficulties with the language. Yet in the end all of that doesnít really matter, because I have found great friends from around the world, and a new home that I will always keep close to my heart.