I’m Genny Suliman, I’m 17 and I’m living the dream of my life.
I am a foreign exchange student from Italy. Back home, I live in a very small town in the north. All my friends live 30 minutes away from me. I usually take public transports to meet them, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. That’s one of the big differences I first noticed from Italy to here in Mansfield is that you can’t move if you don’t have a car. That’s pretty annoying for me because I don’t have a driver’s license here. In Italy you can’t get one until you are 18. That’s annoying too.
At first I was very, very scared about what I was going through. It’s not easy to leave your home country, your family, your friends and everything you are used to when you are this young. But I did it. I don’t really know what pushed me to make such a big decision, but whatever it was, good choice I guess!
My travel to Texas was very long and stressful. While I was at the airport in New York I missed my flight to Dallas. I waited for about 4 hours for the next one, completely alone. It was the worst experience ever! I don’t wanna see an airport for the next 10 months.
It was tough when I first arrived. I had some days when I just felt down. I thought that everything was going in the wrong way, I didn’t have any friends here, and all my friends in Italy were just having fun and hanging out with each other.
I didn’t want to feel sad. So I just started thinking, what I’m doing right now is special. I’m not going to have another chance to live this again. This is my year, my opportunity to change my life. I know everybody my age wants to have fun and think about what you are going to do over the weekend, at least that’s how I feel. But be sure what you do is good for you and your future. Do something you love and that makes you feel happy.
Anyway, I moved here just 3 weeks ago, but it seems like I’ve been here a while (in a good way.) It is different from what I was used to, that’s what I expected. I love everything, its all new. I’m trying to make some friends, I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I’ve met a lot of nice people so far.
Last week I met another Italian exchange student at Lake Ridge. She’s in my U.S. History class. When I found it out I was very happy, it was like finding a person you know among lots of strangers.
My host family is amazing, I feel like I’ve known them forever. They love me and I love them. Before we first met, I texted with my host mom Randi quite often. The first time I actually met them I was very excited but tired at the same time. They were waiting for me at the airport and they treated me like their daughter as soon as I arrived. I even have a little host brother. His 9 and he’s more active and energetic than I am, but I’m getting used to him.
This school year I’m looking forward to making some real friends, being more independent, and growing up a little. At the end of the year I wanna look back and say, “Oh my God! That was me?!”
Genny is a junior and foreign exchange student from Udine, Italy. She hopes to study Criminology while in college, and will be a special contributing writer throughout the school year.