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My Exchange Student’s Experience

junio 13, 2014

At earliest 90, I started thinking about studying outside of Venezuela to learn a different culture, customs and language. My best friend told me about an organization that make possible the aventure called AFS, American Field Service, offering to teens all around the world the opportunity to postulate and to get the chance to have the experience most important of our lives.

AFS exchange student´s program

On february 1996 I went to the third reunion and I was accepted to participate on the program, which consist on 3 steps. First, apply about a year and a half, participating on saturday’s reunion having activities about history, geography, general knowledge and other daily issues, getting ready for the final test that runs on a long weekend. Us were 10 youth, conforming Centro Oeste committee. Having to compete with the other 2 committees of Caracas and almost 20 nationwide. Completing the application time the organization decides whether you have all the requirements and if so where it will go, because the motto of the organization is postulated for an experience and not for a particular country. They argued that any country has a rating and each participant accumulates points over the time with different activities, the organization offers a couple of options for the candidate to decide.

1997 Centro Oeste Committee

1997´s Centro Oeste Committee

One of the most important activities is a talent show, a little play that we had to produce and interpret, we did it about Venezuelan history since Cristobal Colon until present goverment at 1997. I have to recognize that for me was really hard, I´m the worst actor possible, was horrible all the time practicing and trying to do it as acceptable as possible, hopefully the play was amazing, the best one that year. Our committee made a great test weekend and all the members got the necessary score to get host country.

Talent Show

Talent Show

All the group got what we wanted, travel and have a different year, getting destinies as USA, Australia, Holland, Sweden, Latvia, Czech Republic. At that moment we realized that every work we did have a reward, was becoming true and we had to get ready, not only with correct clothe and equipments, just learning most as possible about your host town to fit soon and do not lose time trying to do it.

When you have the place that you are going, begin the second step: The Traveling. I got The United States, a big State as Montana, I lived on Caracas with population of 6 millions and my exchange experience was on Ennis, little town of 800 persons of population.

Ennis, Mt

It was an amazing experience, probably the best I´ve had in my live, a year meeting many people, customs and a different way of seeing life. Ennis is a small town with more trout and beef cattle than persons. But I will extend about my experience on Ennis in next post.

When the year ends, a new way to participate is beginning, as a volunteer helping new students than have the wish to have the best experience on their lives. At the same time you become in a guide for the foreign students that visit your country, helping them to have their memorable experience. I had the opportunity of being the principal guide of 3 students, one from France and two from Usa and I learned a lot from the 3 girls, but with Maryline was different, we were friends. The friendship that you are able to make is the most important gift you can get on the program.

17 years since the flight arrives at Billings, Montana, too long since it was a teen, an innocent one that grew up in all the ways until becoming the man that I am now. I will always recomend to everyone to have or give yourself this kind of experiences you won´t regret.


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