My name is Victoria and I’m from Spain. I have been living in Colorado for 8 months now and had the best time of my life. Therefore, I think it is important to thank all the people that made it possible. That’s the reason I’m sending this email.
Eight months ago I was in Spain, nervous because I was to start a completely new lifestyle, meet completely new people, and basically move into a house with people who were strangers for me. When people think about exchange programs the first things that they think about are being away of your family and friends, moving to a new house, having to meet new friends, new language, new culture,… And I won’t lie, that’s what I thought too. Before starting my exchange year I was really excited. I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. However, I was scared. Scared of having to meet new people, scared of finding myself alone at school, and a lot of questions started to emerge in my mind. What if I don’t like the family? What if I can’t make new friends? What if it’s too hard to study in English? What if I miss my family too much? What if…What if….What if….
A year away from home, friends, and family is a challenge. English is a challenge. Meeting new people is a challenge. But life is about challenge. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try, and that involves not limiting your challenges, but challenging your limits. In my case, I was really attached to my family. We spent a lot of time together. I had a three younger siblings and my mum was pregnant. I thought it was going to be really hard to be away from them for that long but it wasn’t. And that was thanks to all the people that made my exchange experience possible.
I want to start with the coordinators. Not only the ones in the destination places, but also the ones at home. In my case, my coordinator was Vicky. She helped me organize my exchange year and made sure that they had a family waiting for me in Colorado and a school I could attend. I was really excited and sent her emails almost daily asking her if they had any information or news about the family or school. She never lost her patience and answered every single on of them telling me not to worry that she would tell me as soon as she knew. She worked very hard to place me in the perfect place and find me the perfect family. She kept contact with Susan. Another amazing person I am thankful for. She is the Aspect Foundation coordinator here in Broomfield, CO. She is one of the sweetest, nicest, most amazing person I’ve ever know. We started talking a couple weeks before I moved to Colorado but since the beginning she was there for me, answering every question I had and helping me with all the school registration process.
When the day arrived I was so nervous. “I AM MOVING TO COLORADO FOR A YEAR!.” The feeling was incredibly bittersweet. I knew I was going to have a great time but I was leaving home. After hours of flight and long waits in the airport, I heard it. “Victoria!!!!!!!”. There they were, my host family and Susan. Jennifer, my mum. Richard, my dad. And Jason and Nathan, my brothers. That exact moment was when I knew that it was going to be the best year of my life. I looked at them and they had the same sparkle in the eyes that I had. A sparkle full of excitement, emotions, and happiness. After that, all that came were new challenges that helped me turn into the person that I am right now. Starting in a new school, making new friends, joining cross-country, homecoming, new classes, new teachers, football games, hockey games, basketball games, family dinners, my first birthday away from home,… the list goes on and on, but there isn’t a single experience that I regret. I don’t regret the tears that I cried when I first came because those tears turned into smiles. I don’t regret telling that girl how much I loved her t-shirt because now she’s my best friend. I don’t regret starting volunteering in the nursing home because now I’m a stronger person with no fear of trying new things. I don’t regret choosing Aspect Foundation because now that I’m almost done with the exchange experience I know that it has been the best year of my life thanks to all of the people that works for Aspect Foundation and make this experience such an amazing one.
I am going home in a month and a week. It is incredibly hard for me to think about leaving my family. My host family is my new family away from home. Colorado is my home away from home. The experiences I’ve lived with them are just amazing. Traveling, hockey games, family parties, movie nights,… Sharing smiles, tears, opinions, stories, secrets, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months,…it has been incredibly perfect! I will never be able to tell them how thankful I am for having them as a family. Words don’t make it justice. I will never forget how much fun I have had here and how many amazing experiences and friendships I’m taking home with me. The friends I have made here have helped me more than anyone has ever helped me before. They have chosen to spend time with me and share their time with me. The teachers have helped me with everything I needed help with. I can’t express with words how lucky I am to have met all this people that will always have a very important place in my heart.
I want to say thank you to all the people that made all this experience possible.
Vicky, thank you for helping me organize my exchange year. Thank you for all the emails you respond and made me feel more confident about leaving. Thank you for making me understand how important is to travel and have an open mind.
Susan, thank you for being the best coordinator in the entire world. I have no words to explain how thankful I am to have you as my coordinator. And not only as a coordinator, but also as a friend. All the exchange students activities that you have organized have helped me meet amazing people and get to know them better. I will never forget what you told me before I came to Colorado “It is important not to have expectations and be open to anything and any adventure.” This helped me to keep going and never give up even if I felt alone or scared. I will never forget you and will always carry you in my heart. I love you so much and I will never forget all you have done for me.
Mum, dad, Jason, and Nathan, thank you for being such a great family. I have no words to express how amazing this year with you have been. Not only with you but also with Grandma, Auntie Mel, Uncle Kevin, Jamison, and Emerson. You made me feel like part of the family and helped me feel like I was at home. And now I feel like I am at home, with my family. Colorado is my home away from home. I will come visit, I promise. With you I have learned a lot of incredible lessons that I will never forget. Thinking about leaving you makes me incredibly sad. It is amazing how great of a family you are. Every single day I have spent with you has taught me to be a better person. I am so thankful to be able to call you family and I will always love you. You’re the best family I could have had and I will always be part of your family.
Emma, Shadi, Lexi, Alli, Brinette, Holly, Devlin, Adam,… thank you for being such good friends. Thank you for spending time with me and help me feel like at home. You’re the best friends I will ever have and will never forget how great you are. Alli and Lexi, I will see you this summer in Spain, I’m looking forward to it. I love you so much, you are the greatest!
My high school teachers, counselors, staff, coaches,… thank you for helping me get involved in the school and for all the support you have given me. It wouldn’t have been the same without your help and support.
All of you who are working for Aspect Foundation, thank you for making this possible. Every single one of you made this experience possible and I will never be able to thank you enough for all you do. You give people the chance of living the amazing experience of traveling, learning, meeting new people, learning a new culture, a new language. Thank you thank you thank you thank you and thank you. You work makes amazing experiences like mine possible and without you, none of them could happen.
After all I have said, I hope you can understand how thankful I am for every single one of those that have helped me. Whoever is reading this, has helped me with this experience. Thank you so much. I will always be thankful for what you have done. Thank you for showing me that when life gets harder you just have to challenge yourself to be stronger.