Experiencing Blair as an Exchange Student

by Rosina Speranza
This is a photo of all the exchange students in the DC area. They are part of Youth for Understanding.

Rosina Speranza is an exchange student from Uruguay. She has come to live with a family in Silver Spring for a year and attend Blair as a junior. She is looking forward to returning to her family and friends when school is finished.

Why I Decided to Come

Well, actually I didn't really think about it. It was something weird. One day my mom asked me if I wanted to be an exchange student and I just said yes without thinking. I think I was afraid if I thought deeply, I might not come. I just liked the idea to be far away for a while, to be independent. I thought that was my unique opportunity and I knew that was going to be an interesting and educational experience. And of course I could learn more English. In my country it is very important to know English.

My Expectations

Before coming I thought that some things were going to be different. For example I didn't know that everything was going to be that hard. Another thing is that I didn't know that making friends was going to be difficult. Also I expected to have some problems with my family because I know that it is not easy to live with somebody else, and especially when you don't know the person. But it is not like that for me. I love my family and we don't have any kind of problems (not that I know). I thought I was going to be by myself for everything but it is not like that. They're always supporting me.

What I've Learned

At first it was hard. I did know English but I couldn't understand when people spoke. English sounded like Japanese. Not only the language was hard; I didn't feel comfortable in my house because I didn't know them. I had to ask for a glass of water! But the most amazing thing for me was Blair. I was really afraid because of my English.

But all these are different now. I feel part of the family and also part of the school. I used to hate Blair but now I'm starting to like it. And this is because now I can speak and understand English. I have also gotten used to my new life. Now after six and a half months I can say that I'm so happy to be here. It's a great experience. I have learned so much about my own country, my own family. I value them more than before coming.

I have also learned about the U.S. and other cultures, too, because here I meet people from all over the world. I think it's so interesting. Also I have learned a lot about my new family, as much as they have learned about my country and me. The most important thing is that I learned about myself. After this experience I feel that I can do whatever I want. "If I want, I can."

The Hard Things

Well not everything is nice. There are some bad things. For example I miss my family and my friends a lot. It's the first time that I'm far away from them for a long time. And I swear that is not easy. But I don't regret coming. When you really want something you have to make some sacrifices.

Another bad thing is that the grades here don't count for me. And this is because the system in my country is totally different. So sometimes I ask myself why I should do my homework and study for the test. I feel that nobody is going to appreciate that. But also sometimes I think that all I'm learning here will help me some day. And I'm sure of that. This is an experience I will never forget.

Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2000 (This page was created by Elias Asamenew.)