Morgantown - My experience as an Exchange Student

Morgantown, West Virginia, Exchange student

If you read my about page, you will see how the taste for the expat life started. My next move was to Morgantown, West Virginia. My, oh my, it was tough. I was very shy at school and guess what, nothing was like you watch in the movies, surprise, surprise... I wasn't the youngest anymore, we were all equal, but we weren't, and being so shy, it was hard for me to accept and be accepted.

I left my high school sweetheart back in Brazil, my friends, my family, my everything and I just didn't want to be there. In my mind I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My host family was amazing. They were so chilled and down to earth, I loved them, but at that time I didn't even realize it, I didn't even know how to show it to them. I was too self centered (the usual 16yr old).

6 months into it, this girl who came with me and became my best friend was leaving and I still had another 6 months to go, I just didn't want to stay. I cried every day and every night. I'd wake up with swollen eyes from crying and had to face high school besides everything else, it was hell.

One night I called my mum, my poor mum was probably dying on the other end and all I did was cry, begging her to go home, but after a long talk and my mum telling me why she believed I should stay, she said something to the lines of: "if you give up on that now, you'll be setting yourself up for failure for the rest of your life."

In other words, if you give up once it just gets too easy to give up on whatever comes along next, as soon as it gets hard. At the end, she said that it was up to me. I had to make the decision and they'd support me no matter what. Her words were nagging at me all night long. I didn't want to grow up to be a loser and never follow things through, or at least not give a shot at things. So, I decided to stay. In the midst of all everything. Still...

...there was light at the end of the tunnel...

I believe that the Universe/God/The Lord/Life sends you what you are looking for at that exact moment. Of course, we're not always willing to wait. We want things to happen when we want them, but there's alwaysa reason why it didn't happen at that second... but this is a conversation for another time, this is not a spiritual blog, is it now?

In my case, in the previous 6 months, life was not fun, I was on the count down to get back home, when one day, my host mum says that a Brazilian girl has arrived, maybe that would cheer me up, we could be friends. I went into the den to call her and the conversation was something like this:

- Hi Camila, my name is Flavia, I'm an exchange student here in Morgantown, maybe we could meet someday.
- Fla, Fla, it's me, Camila!
- Errr, sorry? Maybe you think I'm someone else...
- No, Fla, it's me, Camila, you didn't receive my letter?

I was so confused! This girl, had studied with me in Middle School, we were friends, then she moved from SP to Recife (North of Brazil) and we kept in touch for a while after, but not so much anymore. The only reason she knew I was there was because I sent her a Christmas card with my address! She immediately sent me a letter, but I never got it on time.

After that, life was so much easier... We were in the same school, we hung out all the time, made more friends and the last 6 months flew by.

Morgantown, West Virginia, Exchange Student

Was it all rosy? Obviously not, but then again... we were teenagers.