When you host an exchange student, you’re helping to bring the world together. Lifelong friendships and relationships are built across cultures and, sometimes, those connections help reunite participants later in life. Recently, two AYA alumni — Sophie from Germany and Larissa from Austria — reconnected in Europe. Larissa told us a little bit about the experience and how lucky she feels to have individuals all over the world who she loves and love her.
Sophie and I have known each other since somewhere around the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. We both went to the States with AYA and got to know each other better through a groupchat over which we became really close. On August 2nd, 2016 I flew to Germany and met her for the first time, later that day Sophie and I got on another plane to go to NYC for orientation and it was the best time ever. We shared a room and had such a blast – not only because we were finally in the States, but because we were together in real life now!
On August 5th, 2016 we said goodbye at 4 in the morning as Sophie headed to Georgia and I drove back to host family who lived in New York State. Sophie and I stayed in touch throughout all this time, and today, on October 27th, 2017, she came all the way from Berlin and we spent a day in Vienna. It’s just so amazing, all the friends I have made over the past year, knowing that I have a “home” in so many countries in this world, I am super grateful! <3
I showed Sophie all round Vienna – we enjoyed some coffee in a Viennese Coffeehouse, and strolled through the city (even though it rained so so much). I showed here all my favorite spots and told her what I knew about the buildings and a little bit about the history of my country, we even talked about school systems.. lol! It was so nice having her here. I can’t wait to go visit her in Berlin someday! 🙂