My time in Colombia is unfortunately coming to an end. I will admit, my exchange went by much faster than I thought it would. In one aspect it seems like just yesterday that I was stepping out of the airport into a town of lights and cars everywhere, but in other ways it feels like a long time ago. Either way, saying good-bye to my host family and all of the wonderful people I have met here is one of the saddest moments of my life. I will admit it is also bittersweet to know that I will be returning home to see my friends and family. However, I will definitely treasure and miss relationships and bonds that I have made in Colombia, but luckily know that these friendships will last for a lifetime.
I am so thankful and happy that I got the chance to go to Bogotá. It is such a lively and unique city, full of multicolored buildings, traffic, and a wonderful culture. In the course of my six weeks I have had so many eye-opening experiences that have changed me forever. I was able to live and tour around the city and visit many cool places such as: Laguna Guatavita y Pueblo (the fertile land where indigenous Colombian used to live), Villa Leyva (a beautiful colonial town), Andres (the coolest restaurant ever with entertainment, lights, and great food), Monserrato (the beautiful center of Bogotá) and so many more. Some highlights of my exchange include attending my favorite class called current events, going to my first Quinceañera, hanging out with friends after school, and visiting some of the largest and coolest malls I have ever seen. I loved seeing Bogotá and the cities around it, but my favorite memories are of time spent with my host family. From baking with my host father to having our nightly family dinners, I will definitely cherish those small moments the most!
To be real for a moment, the first week of exchange was definitely one of the hardest times of my life. The culture shocks of being in a new country away from friends and family, with new people and a different culture than I am used to, was very hard. But as the days went by it got better. I found that the more friends I surrounded myself with and the more I put myself out, the easier it got. Now after five weeks, I don’t want to leave. I want to stay with my new friends and family.
To those who are considering whether to go on exchange or not, I would 100% recommend applying. Exchange has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. Over the course of these six weeks I have gained so much knowledge about who I am as a person and the world I live in. I have found so much courage and independence in myself being more than 3,000 miles away from friends and family. I can’t promise exactly what your experience will be, but I can say that it will open up your eyes to the smallest things–yourself, the people, or the world that you are surrounded by. While exchange is full of ups, down, highs and lows, it has forever changed me for the better.
Finally, to Colombia, thank you for giving me some of the best weeks of my life. This trip has taught me so much about myself. I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this experience. Thank you to each and every one of you who has made my time here wonderful. Even though I will miss everyone more than anything, I realize that I can come back and visit because I know that I will always have a second home and family in Colombia. ¡Gracias Colombia! Te extrañaré. Por la una última vez “chao”