Datum: 6. 10. 2016
Karla from Mexico decided to step out of her comfort zone and embark on a year long journey - exchange year in the Czech Republic. It is definitely not easy, as Karla confirms, but it is worth fighting for. She is now learning Czech, attendning local high school and experiencing whole bunch of new activities with her host family. Read her story in this article.
"I remember that I was very excited to go to the other side of the world..."
It was a rather impulsive decision whether to go on an exchange or not. Once I had it in mind but I never thought to actually have the courage to do it. It was quite tempting - the idea of being far, the chance to open myself to another culture, fill me with other realities, enrich the view and be independent, but I never thought that it would be so difficult. I remember that I was very excited to go to the other side of the world! My flight was leaving on Wednesday from Mexico City but I left on Monday because the only thing I wanted to was to get out of my city as soon as possible, I was those two and a half days with my mom and then finally the day of the flight was there.
"I ran to greet them and give them a big hug, because I was happy to see them..."
We arrived at the airport and YFU explained to us what we had to do before, during and after the flight. The hour of departure suddenly came, I didn't cry and neither did my mother that was accompannying me. She was very confident that everything would be perfect and I was very excited. I was watching movies during the flight and didn't think about that in a few hours more I'm going to be living with other people who I had never seen. Finally I arrived to Prague. The big city where my host family was waiting for me. I went for my luggage, took my stuffs and went with a giant smile full but kind of nervous. To my surprise, there was a large sign saying "ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA YFU" and aside my sister, my brother and my dad with other sign saying "KARLA" so I ran to greet them and give them a hug because I was so happy to finally meet them in person.They took my stuff and then we went home, it was a silent path of 3 hours to get home, where my host mother would be waiting for us with a dinner, which it was very quiet and I was afraid that every dinner would be like that.
"I didn't understand anything and missed speaking my mother language..."
The first two weeks were difficult. I didn't understand anything, I didn't want to leave my room because I knew that I would have to talk with my family and I didn't feel confident yet. When my family presented me to the neighbors, I didn't understand anything and I felt very sad and depressed, and I also cried a lot and missed speaking my mother language - Spanish. The classes started and whole school already knew that a Mexican girl would walk around for the classrooms, everyone already knew me but I didn't know them and that situation got me even more nervous.
"Take risks and be brave, because if you're not, then life loses its flavour..."
I started my course of Czech and I'm slowly understanding the language but I can't say that it is easy because it is not, but I think everything it's gonna get better by the time. Now I'm already engaging in activities of my school and with my family and now I have more confidence and I've also prepared some food for them during the México Independence Day. Together wee enjoy the mountains, we ride bikes, they take me to the nearest villages to explore them, we have already visited Vienna, etc. This month has been full of many feelings and emotions, sometimes I am sad, sometimes happy, it's been a month when I was vulnerable, but I realized that that it's this enriching experience of leaving your comfort area, know yourself and get to know other cultures. Just forget about the superficial things, take risks, be brave, because if you're not, then life loses its flavor.
Karla, exchange student from Mexico to the Czech Rep. 2016/17