As I settle in to being back home, I am deeply saddened to have left such an incredible place like Germany. Going on exchange was nothing like I imagined—it was so much greater. I had huge expectations for exchange and, shockingly, it was even better than my own dreams could have come up with. Everyone and everything there impacted the way my exchange journey went. The people and friends I met were some of the greatest friends I will ever have and I will never forget them. (Special shout out to Stella Bella.)
When I first arrived in Hinterzarten on April 12, I was not as excited as I wanted to be. The school was in the middle of a village with nothing but a few cafes and some hotels. I remember telling my dad how lucky he was to go back to California the next day. I now regret that sentence very much. People in Germany were so welcoming to me. At the end of my trip they told me I was the most legendary exchange student to ever attend their school because I really tried to get to know everyone and hang out with everyone outside of classes. They told me they all grew attached to me in such a short amount of time and that leaving was going to be hard for them because they would miss me. It all meant so much to me.
Exchange taught me so many important lessons starting with independence and responsibility. Being in a foreign country alone seemed terrifying at first, until I got the hang of things and could figure my way around bigger cities such as Zurich and Freiburg. I learned to step out of my comfort zone and not just stick to two friends the entire time I was there. I really tried to apply myself to everything the school offered as well as meet every single student there. (It is a small school.) If I could have extended my exchange, I would have stayed for another year. Leaving was terribly hard for me and I hope to visit soon. Thank you Germany for the most incredible six weeks of my entire life. You will not be forgotten.