For a student, entering an exchange program is a dream come true. It gives students the unique chance of living in a new country, with a new family. It is surreal.
During the time I have spent living in Windham since leaving Brazil, I have met amazing people and visited outstanding places. Maine is a beautiful and peaceful place, but the time I spent getting here wasn’t quite as delightful. I was told before that the travel wasn’t going to last more than 20 hours, but it turned into a 48-hour-trip.
|Julia, center, finally meets up with her host family|
I left Brazil on August 21. My family members were excited and crying when we arrived at the airport and said our goodbyes. It was a really sad moment, but it was necessary. I arrived on August 22 in New York, and took another plane to Portland, but I missed an important detail: there are two Portlands in the United States!
By my bad luck, I ended up in the one in Oregon. I didn’t even find out until I got on the plane. By then it was too late and I couldn’t talk to anyone that could help me. My host family got desperate when they went to the airport and didn’t see me; my parents in Brazil were really concerned and I did not have the chance to talk to them until I landed, which was 9 long hours after I left New York.
By the time I landed in Oregon, both my host family and my family in Brazil were aware of what happened and were trying to come up with a solution. Fortunately, the airline was also aware and gave me all the support I needed, including rescheduling my plane ticket and helping me talk to my parents.
But the biggest question was, who was the responsible for this huge mistake? The lady that was responsible for my exchange program papers bought me the wrong plane ticket, but she said that wasn’t her fault.
After spending a whole day in the airport, I finally took the right plane to Portland; the one in Maine this time. I finally got to meet my host family, and since then, we are having an amazing time together.
I’m here for the school year, and hopefully it is going to be one of the best years of my life!
I talked to some of the other exchange students from Brazil about their own experiences in Maine so far. All of them are loving the place and the people. Everything is very different from our country, especially the food.
“I tried the pineapple pizza, and it’s really weird, but I really liked the Bic Mac pizza,” Lucca Pagotto, another exchange student said.
Adriano Neto, also from Brazil, said, “I went to some lakes in the region. It’s very beautiful. It’s a city with a lot of trees. I had a tiring trip, but it was worth it.”
Coming to Maine is an amazing experience. I am so excited to travel and to have the chance to learn about another culture. I’m very lucky to have this time to live my own Maine adventure!