An American adventure
By Lissa van der Horst, a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands who lived this past year with the Lakey family, of Cassville
I came with nerves to big America to start an adventure, but the nerves went away really fast. From day one, I felt at home, and I was a part of the family.
My family has supported me in everything I did, and they always tried to let me do things I had never done before. My host mom came to all my volleyball games and tried to come to as much cheer games as possible. Every weekend we had family time, and I really enjoyed that, just some time together with fun and bonding.
This last week she is taking me to places I really wanted to see because it was something American. My family has taught me a new culture, they gave me a new family, they gave me a fresh look on my future, and they helped me get to know myself. They have taught me that I can do what I want, as long as I have faith. I didn't know I could do this year, but because of the faith and the support they had, I did it. I made this year the best one of my life, and I couldn't do it without them!
I will love them forever, and I will never forget them. I have their name in a ring and the memories in my mind.
AYUSA (the youth exchange program that paired Lissa with the Lakeys) gives students the opportunity to go to another country for a year. It is really important for them to have the right family for the student. In my case that was for sure.