By Alisa Caira, Young Wanderers
| Today marks exactly one year since I first flew out of Boston on my way to one of the most life-changing experiences I have had to date. A year ago today, I participated in my school’s international exchange to Spain. With around twenty of my fellow classmates, I flew to Spain and was paired with a Spanish-speaking host family. Their daughter had come here in the fall, and then it was my turn to go to them.
At first, I was incredibly scared about the process. I mean, there was definitely a lot of excitement as well, but going to a new country and being forced into a language that was not my own was definitely scary. While there, we were expected to be able to adapt to the many cultural differences with a spirit of enthusiasm. Of course, we were all enthusiastic, but a great question remained of what exactly would we find there?
However, Spain was even more than I could have asked for. Practicing my Spanish and learning about the culture of the country was one of the greatest opportunities I have been given, By learning first hand, my Spanish was able to reach a level I before did not think possible. There were difficulties in language and adaptation, as to always be expected, but overall the trip could not have been better.
As we traveled from Burgos to Madrid to Barcelona, I was amazed at all the amazing sights I previously did not think I would ever see. Because of that school trip, I was able to experience and learn so much that before would have been inaccessible to me. At first, a month seemed like a long time to be away from my school, my friends, and my life. Yet, once the month expired, I realized it was not nearly long enough.
About the Author
Alisa Caira is a high school junior who founded Young Wanderers with her friend and classmate, Gabriella Matos. Alisa’s first time leaving the country was the summer after eighth grade when she traveled to Hong Kong to visit her aunt. Ever since that first trip, she has fallen in love with travel. Since then, she has visited eight countries and looks to visit many more in the future. From these places, she has learned that the best way to understand the world is to experience the world. She looks to encourage other young people to do the same or, in place of this experience, impart what the world has taught her with more students looking to know it.