As a matter of fact, this amazing experience was given by my mother: ‘Prague is beautiful! But I have never been there! You know that advert? “Czech Republic – Land Of Stories”? Go to Czech Republic!’… Eventually, I came here, without knowing any Czech words, or even any basic info. BUT, my mother will never know how much this changed me.

I live(d) in Nová Paka, a little town in the middle of Liberec region and Hradec Králové region. I go to school on foot. There are lots of tall trees, and woods almost everywhere, moles,  deers and species of birds made me scream with joy– As a girl who came from Shanghai, China, this will start a brand new lifestyle.

But indeed, that’s not everything. I had times that I was always down because of culture shocks, and the iceberg was so deep that I nearly failed to build self-confidence. During those times, the Orientation Camp organized by AFS ‘saved my life’! I learned so much from the AFS camps, and get to hear from other exchange student friends, and THIS is always another strong family during my year. Exchange students are always sharing emotions! Their understanding made me feel the love. Then I grow. And after those down days, I found a brand new me. By talking with my host parents (I’d rather call them my friends) and finding closer friends in class, I feel much fuller, I learn. Then I was able to make plans for myself, cook, bake, play with children, and ski. The best lessons I’ve learned from my family — Honesty, discussions, politeness, patience, put the right attitude on when you made mistakes, apology and real love.

You will never know/imagine how much or what you can get from this year. Unexpected things may happen, weirdness, awkwardness, accidents, it may lead you to sadness, but always remember, you learn from those suffers, and do what an exchange student suppose to do, catch the spirit.

You may have fun, but you are learning at the same time; you may face awkwardness, but you are growing at the same time. You fall down the first time you ski, but who didn’t? The more bruises you get, the stronger you will be. As the bruises fade away, you are brand new again, and you’ll learn about the world, the love, the kindness, and AFS in not just only an organization, but a road that leads you to see your future.

Tak, myslím, že jsem není dobrá studentka, ale teď chci úcit víc jazyky, nejen český, a německý, japonský a tak dál. Teď já mám ráda lyžovat, vařit…… a bude víc víc víc. Život je zábava.

Je to úžasný rok. Baví mě to.

Live a life you will remember.
Ginny, Čína

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