Over 800 CCI exchange students are having an experience of a lifetime living with volunteer host families all over the country. We could tell you about some of those experiences, but what would be better than hearing directly from a student? This is the first of many blog posts from one exchange student who is willing to share her exchange story with you!

by Mariana, a CCI exchange student

I am Mariana , 16 years old, from Itu, São Paulo, Brazil, and I am an exchange student for one year in the U.S.A. with CCI.

I’ve been living in a city called Wetumpka, Alabama since July 30th, 2011. It is a calm and pretty state. My host family is amazing and I love them! My host mom’s name is Melanie and she is so sweet and pretty. I have a little host brother, his name is Andrew and he is 6. He is the funniest and cutest thing in the world! He always makes me laugh! My host sister’s name is Alex and she is 17. She is so funny and I love the “stories of her life” as she says.

I’m attending Wetumpka High School. It is a big school, with about 1300 students. I am in 11th grade. I am going to play soccer next semester for my school and it will be awesome! At school we have 7 more foreign exchange students: 3 from Brazil, a girl from Kyrgyzstan, a girl from Kazakhstan, a boy from Korea and a girl from Thailand. They are so nice and they help me so much!

People at school are so nice and always want to know something different about my country and my culture. Sometimes, they ask me really dumb questions such as: “Do you all eat grass in Brazil?” or “Do you have monkeys as your pets?” or “How is the sun in Brazil?” For this last question I answered: “The sun? Ooh, it is green, did you know that?” hahahaha!

School here is so different from my home country. There we don’t have lockers and here I have one. In Brazil only the teachers move from one class to another and here in the U.S.A. the students have to move. Here we  also have just 7 subjects, compared to 14 subjects in Brazil. We don’t have cool classes such as Culinary, Theater, Gardening or Vocal either. I love school here!

My activities here besides school are going to church on Wednesdays and Sundays and I will start soccer practices next year. On the weekends I usually go out with my friends to the mall, movies or their houses.

I love being here and I know I will take this experience to my entire life and I will learn so much with this wonderful exchange program!