Everyone who knows me also knows that I am the biggest fan of the United States. This country is actually part of me, and a big part. I probably got the virus from my dad, who has always had a fascination for this wonderful country. The first time my parents took me to the US, I was 6 years old and we went to Florida during Christmas. We went back there the year after, also to spend our family Christmas there, fully enjoying Orlando and Miami. It was about 25-30°, with a very humid atmosphere. I would definitely not recommend going there during summer, December was actually perfect! The only thing that I regret is that I forgot a lot about these vacations since I was so little. I mostly remember enjoying the dolphins at Sea World.
The third time we went to the US was in 2001, when I was 11. My parents took my brother and I to the west coast this time. We enjoyed the great cities of Los Angeles and San Diego during 3 weeks in July. This is when I fell in love with California (but who would not?). This is also when I decided I wanted to go a year abroad in the US after I graduated High School, which I did. I remember this day like yesterday… I was a senior in High School and I came into my parent’s room saying: “guys, I want to live in the US next year as a foreign exchange student”. I remember seeing their surprised face and saying: “well, ok, we’ll start looking for some information”. From the moment I had the idea stuck in my head, I could not stop thinking about it.
So I started to write tons of information about me and fill tons of papers in, for my VISA, for the American government and for my sponsor. Until one day, I got an email from my sponsor about my host family, located in Millbrook, Illinois, about an hour away from Chicago, in the countryside. A family of four kids, who have animals including horses, and the younger girl who plays volleyball. I remember being so excited! This was everything I could have dreamed of! I had so much in common with them. They were all awesome! I still keep in touch with them a lot and try to come see them every year or 2 years. I actually am going back in Chicago on May 25th for 6 weeks. I’ll be going to my host sister’s (who just had a baby 48 hours ago, CONGRATS RACHEL!!!) wedding on June 14th! So exciting! I really enjoy the way this family lives their life, not planning a thing ahead, living with the flow, enjoying every moments, like a day out with the horses and the dogs.
This experience changed me. I became someone else, in a good way. I have learned a lot and I would recommend anybody to live this experience as a foreign exchange student. I have met wonderful people, who are friends for life, I have discover a new culture, living in an American high school and family and I can say I love this American way of living.
That’s why I also decided in 2012 to discover a new part of this culture: the working part. I sent hundreds of spontaneous applications to find an internship in the US, got a few responses, and decided to intern for Lucid Fusion, a Californian company located in Irvine. This was also an incredible experience! I definitely wish I could stay in the US forever and work there. It’s a shame that it is so complicated with the paperwork… Lucid Fusion gave me an insight on how Americans work, but also how a whole agency works, everybody doing their own things but still managing to achieve success together as a team. I will never thank Kelly (my internship supervisor) enough for giving me this opportunity. It was absolutely great and I also had the chance to meet wonderful people, like my roommate, a German girl from Dresden.
Anyway, this is pretty much my American story, or at least how I developed such a passion for this country. I can’t wait to see my host family in May and enjoying wonderful times with them, just like old times, going horse riding, playing with the dogs, partying, enjoying Chicago, shopping, sun bathing and going swimming.
If I can give an advice to anybody who hasn’t been to the US, just do it. As I always say, you’ll love it or hate it, because I don’t really think there is a “middle-point”. You’ll fal in love with their culture or hate it and find it way too superficial… As far as I’m concerned, I’m convinced and I’ll definitely go back there, again and again and again 😉 ENJOY!