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Washington Voices

For Him, Family Is Most Important

Thu., Nov. 27, 1997

For an exchange student it is hard work trying to survive in this world.

Being an exchange student is one of the greatest experiences that a student can have. When you are an exchange student, your parents and friends are not going to be there, and everything will depend on you. You have to make your own decisions and you are going to demonstrate to everyone who you really are in this world, without your parents’ help.

When I first arrived, everything was great, just how I thought it would be.

When I was in my own country, Mexico, I was always waiting for that day when I finally would be an exchange student. I really wanted to demonstrate to all the people who I really am and make my family proud of me. So, the day was there and I had to say good-bye to family and friends. That was the time when you are not going to see your family for a whole year.

I took my plane and it was time to meet my new family and new country. Finally, I was there. My family was better than I expected and “Thank God” I didn’t have big troubles with the language. Everything was so new. Two weeks later, school started and I was excited to meet all the new people the same age as me.

But not everything was how I expected.

People are not open. You expect a helping hand, someone to say: “Hi, can I help you?” But it is not there.

I am not talking for all the students because since the first day I had friendly people around me.

But now, everything is up to you. You have to put all your effort to make the things work; you have “to win” all the people that surround you and make people friendly to you.

I have been trying and I have received a lot of help from God and my Virgin Mary, always protecting me.

I almost didn’t have to try hard because everything was going great, and little by little I have won friends and people, and I have opened their heart to a new friend: me.

Today, we are almost at Christmas. That is the season when you really miss your family most. But a brave heart is inside of me and I am not going to give up.

I have learned that family is the most important thing in this world, because they will always be there to support you and not let you fall.

I thank God for the family that He gave me, and I thank my family for this experience that they offered me because now I know the wonderful family that I have. Days are running fast, so I have to enjoy my days the most that I can.

One day, when you never expect it, I’ll be back, happy for all that I learned and valuing one of the most important things for me: my dear family. xxxx MEET DANIEL Daniel Samaniego is from Mexico. The 17-year-old is outgoing and involved at University High School, said his host mom, Jennifer Fiero. So much so, that she has to remind him to set aside time for family, too. “We’re too much alike, the two of us - always outgoing,” Fiero said. Daniel’s host family also includes Amy, 23; Franki, 11; and Jonathan, 9. “It’s an awesome pleasure, watching him learn about our culture,” Fiero said.

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