(Sanni from Finland Studying in Texas )
Aspect Foundation’s inbox is flooded with notes from students expressing their gratitude for the experience they have had on student exchange. On Thursdays, we post one of these notes, sharing the “warm fuzzies” with all of you!
Today’s Thank You Thursday features Sanni from Finland, who is studying in Texas with the Green family. Read her letter to her host family below!
It’s the middle of April already. I can’t believe how fast time has gone, it feels like yesterday when I arrived in Texas and started my new life, with my new family. But in reality, it has already been eight months since I came and now I only have less than 2 months left. It’s hard to think about going back; how can I go back home when I’m already at home?
(Sanni arriving in Texas)
It was about year ago when I found out that my host family is going to host me. I hadn’t heard anything from my organization in many months and I was afraid that nobody wanted to host me. My organization in my home country told me earlier that it’s going to be really hard to find a family for me, because of my arthritis, and that I need to be prepared to hear the fact that there might not be anyone who wants to host me. All the time, I kept wishing that somebody would be interested in me and I kept dreaming that some day I can say that I’m an exchange student. I never stopped dreaming because this was my dream for so long and this was something that I knew I definitely wanted to do. So, then the day came. I was at school when I got a phone call that said I have a family waiting for me in Texas! I couldn’t be happier, I started crying in the hallway and I immediately called my mom, dad, and grandparents to tell the good news. They all have always been really supportive and I wouldn’t be here without their support.
Soon after I got all the information about my new family we started sending emails to each other. All through the summer we sent emails and that way we got to know each other a little bit before I would come in August. Then the day came, and I flew first to New York, and after that to Texas. I came to Dallas Fort Worth airport where my host family and coordinator were waiting for me. I can still remember all the happiness that was in the atmosphere that day like it was yesterday! It felt so unreal to finally meet the people who I was going to spend my next year with.
(Sanni with her host parents)
My year has been amazing. I know that the biggest reason for that is my amazing American family. I honestly couldn’t even imagine getting a better family than the one I got. From the beginning it felt that this is where I belong and I felt like a part of this family. Everyone has been so good to me and I’m so grateful for every single person in this family for making me feel like I’m home, making me feel loved, and accepting me as their new family member. I know that these people will always be my family, no matter which side of the world I am on.
Mom, Dad, and Pennie. There’s no way I can ever thank you enough for taking me, a stranger, to come and live with you. Even though we were strangers, now we’re so much more. I’m so thankful for everything you have shown and taught me, and the things you do for me. It’s more than I could have ever asked for and I really don’t know how to thank you enough. You three are just amazing people and anyone who has the privilege to have you in their life is really lucky. I love you and I won’t ever forget you. Y’all will always be my ‘Merican Mom, Dear Ol’ Dad, and Super Awesome Sister ! <3
(Sanni and her host sister)
I also want to thank my coordinator, Sherri, who worked so hard to get me here. I love you too and I could have not have wished for a better coordinator. You’re so sweet and you have make this year easier for me. Thank you for all the help, for the things you’ve done for me, and for all that you have arranged for our exchange group. You’re the best!!
My exchange year will be over soon and it breaks my heart to think about flying back to Finland. As I have tears in my eyes right now while I’m writing this and I’ve already cried many times when I think about leaving. I know it will be the hardest thing in my life to step back on the airplane. It’s really hard to explain to other people how important somebody can become to you in such a short time and why it makes me so sad to go back home. I won’t ever forget any one of you who have been a part of my experience and Texas will always have a special place in my heart. Even this feels really small compared to everything you all have done for me. I can only say Thank You. Thank You for making my dream come true and Thank You for accepting me as I am.
Mom,Dad & Pennie,
I promise you that I will come back. In June we won’t say goodbyes, instead we will say see you again soon. I will miss you so much but luckily we still have some time together.
Interested in sharing YOUR corner of the world with an international exchange student? Learn more about becoming a host family at: http://aspectfoundation.org/host-families.