Participant Spotlight: Sophia

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I’m Sophia Waldenmaier, a fifteen year old exchange student from Munich, Germany.

The 28th of August was the beginning of one of the most interesting and exciting experience of my life. I arrived in the US, knowing that I will spend the next ten months with a new family in Bend, Oregon. But my concerns and worries turned into happiness and optimism when my whole host family greeted me at the airport with a “Welcome Sophia!” poster. They are a great family. My host parents are Sarah and Mike and they have three children Craig (12), Alice (10) and Jill (5). I felt very welcome right away and soon I was part of the family and they were part of mine.

On my first day of High School, I was very nervous, but I was looking forward to meet kids my age. I go to Summit High, a pretty new school with over 1000 students. It is great and I met very nice people. The school offers so many great classes and after-school activities. I got to be on the Nordic Ski Team; I’ve been part of a Musical Theater performance, Drama and Songwriting class etc. I especially love to be in the Summit Chorale with which I had several concerts and competitions. The highlight was our 5 day trip to Anaheim, California, where we had a competition and spent a lot of time in Disneyland and on Santa Monica beach.

School gave me so many great possibilities to do what I love and I met very nice people with the same hobbies and interests as me. I also acted with the Community, which performed the musical Westside Story.

My host family took me on great trips and we always had a lot of fun over the holidays. We had a big Easter egg search with friends and a German Christmas eve, where my host dad and I cooked very good German food. I also taught them a little German. We still have the most fun with the word “Milch (milk)” J

I’m so happy that I made the decision to spend a year abroad and I want to thank everyone for supporting me! I especially want to thank my Host family, not only for hosting me, but for making my stay so amazing and mostly for adding me to their family. Without you, my experience here wouldn’t have been nearly as great. Special thanks go to my natural family for supporting me in my decision to go and for the suffering they had to go through to let their “little girl” leave. I love you all very much! I also want to thank my aunt, uncle and cousin for everything they have done for me.

CHI and Taste I’m really grateful for all the work and effort you put into my stay, for making my dream come true!

Thanks to all my friends in Germany! And last but not least I want to thank everyone here in the USA, who welcomed me with open hands. Thanks to all the friends I made here.

I will never forget my year in Oregon!

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