By Sakshi Chandore (Nagpur), Hosted in Arcata CA USA
“It’s almost the end of my stay in United States, I wonder how time flies so quickly. These ten months in the US as an exchange student has brought drastic changes in my life. Though my face looks the same as it was earlier, but the person now is completely different from the person 10 months before! The person now is a new version of me. This Exchange had a great impact on me personally and as a member of the community. My exchange year taught me to be patient, confident and independent, it opened a whole new world to me.
My Chemistry teacher in my US high school shared a quote by St. Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” I could very well relate to the quote. Sitting in India and learning about US just gave me an insight to the world which is totally different to coming and spending a year in the US and experiencing those things directly.
I met different people from different countries, cultures, religions, races and backgrounds, despite our cultural differences we talked and shared our thoughts and cultures, our hearts got connected and we became open to the world. Now the world just feels closer to me, I personally have more respect towards other nations and cultures and all those people who made our experience wonderful. This was an amazing way to bring the world together and we all hope towards making it peaceful together where no one has feelings of hate towards each other. I had not done a lot of volunteering in India, but here I had lots of opportunities to volunteer and get involved in the community which made me feel closer to the community. Believe me or not every time I did volunteering, it made me feel happy and satisfied.
A year away from home taught me valuable life experiences, I discovered myself and became confident. I shared my culture, where I came from with the local community. Coming here made me discover more about my motherland, India. I have a lot more respect and pride for my country than I had earlier. I have people, cultures, values, feelings, love and peace in my experience, and a lot of wonderful memories. I am thankful to AFS Intercultural Programs India and YES Program, for giving me this chance which opened the doors to the world.”