First of all, I would like to introduce myself: I am Kinga Luca Farkas, a Hungarian exchange student in Gresham, Oregon. I would like to share my American Story with as many people as I can.

We all know how hard it is to leave our home, where we have all the people who we love and who we have known since we were born. But once in a while we all want to have the chance to experience something new, to have an adventure. So I applied for this exchange student program, and I got a host family, and of course I didn’t know who they were, but I couldn’t wait to come here and get to know them, and make new friends. So then came the day, when I had to leave my country, family and friends, water polo team. It was a really sad day, and it was hard to do it, but we all knew we would see each other again.

When I arrived in Gresham, Oregon, met my host family and my area representative for the first time at the airport, I was a little bit shy. Everything was so new for me. But then days passed and new days came and I got to know my host family more and I met some other exchange students and I started to make friends. And then when water polo practices started, I made more friends. One thing, I am sure about, everybody who will be an exchange student in the United States should play at least 1 sport during the school year. Everybody should have the experience of participating in American sports, it is much easier to make friends. So school started, and I tried to make more friends in my classes, of course its hard when you don’t speak English that well, but if you try hard, everything will become much easier. My English became better and I started to make more and more friends every day, and I learned how American schools work. My classes were so awesome, and the teachers were so nice and helpful. I was able to attend the Winter Formal Dance, and Prom. I was considered a senior at my school, so I could go to the Senior Banquet and Picnic, and participate in the Graduating Ceremony and the Senior All Night Party. I had all the good experiences and opportunities that I could have in an American school.

My host family was really nice to me. Of course, it is so hard to feel comfortable when you are not in your house, your room, with your own family, but you have to be flexible. So I really tried hard to do everything well. First I felt myself as a guest in the house, where I lived during my year. This was not my host family’s fault at all. It happens to everybody. You feel comfortable, but its still new for you to be in a different place with different people. So when Christmas came, the holiday when the family is together, I started to feel like a family member. It was a really good feeling. I felt my host family loved me, they treated me as their daughter. Every day since the first day, I just felt my host family and I were getting closer and closer to each other. I can thank them for all the things they did for me: took me on some trips and showed me around some parts of the United States, helped me improve my English, and made my year in the U.S. one of the best, happiest and most unforgettable years in my life. I had the most amazing host mom, I can ever have. She was always next to me, helped me whenever I had problems, and I could talk to her about everything. And my hostdad was one of the funniest people I have ever met, I loved to do everything with him.

To come to a new country and find true friends is always hard, but I made some really amazing friends. One of them is a girl, who played water polo with me and we became great friends. She was always there for me when I needed her and her family always welcomed me. They are even hosting an exchange student in the fall. (That is because they will miss me so much.) And my other important friendship was another exchange student from Poland. It was nice to have a friend who really understood me because we were in the same situation. And we made so many friends because we went to different schools and we had all our friends meet and now there are many new friendships.

My Area Representative was one of the best and sweetest people I have ever met: who was always there for me during this year and I could call her up any time I wanted for any reason.

Nobody can take this year from me and nobody can make me forget it, because all of the moments I went through will always be remembered. And the last thing I would like to say was written by Olga Korbut: “Don’t be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That’s only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself.”

kinga_flag-350Kinga Luca Farkas is a real student from Hungary and was part of a program that matches foreign exchange students and host families. For more information on bringing a window of the world to your own community, potential host families can go to http://www.cci-exchange.com/host.htm, e-mail at ayp@cci-exchange.com or call CCI’s toll-free information number at 800-634-4771. CCI must place all students for the upcoming school year by August 27, 2010.