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641 S St NW Suite 200

1.800.833.6243

admissions@yfu.org

YFU

Campus Ambassador Introductions: Misha

brandpointyfu

“Studying abroad provided me with a second home and a new set of eyes through which to see the world.”

The realization of a dream is a surreal sensation.  Reminiscing now, the memory of that realization is made of various fragments - the feel of a YFU lanyard around my neck, the travel pouch resting in my lap; the numbness in my toes after long hours of sitting; the melody of the song I was listening to when it happened.

Sweden seemed like a very abstract concept, merely a dream, until I first looked out the window of the airplane as I descended into Stockholm.  Looking out over the beautiful archipelago, it hit me full force - I was about to spend ten months living in this foreign country.  The song “I Can See the Pines Are Dancing” by A.A. Bondy came up on my shuffle and a feeling of awe transformed my small airplane seat into a holy place.  Reverently I let my eyes trace the cobalt curves where the water hugged the land.  My worries and fears quieted as the peace I felt told me I was where I was meant to be.

It was the first of many similarly momentous realizations.  My entire exchange year was a series of eye-opening experiences.  Every day was a new adventure filled with discovery; boredom only meant I wasn’t making the most of my time.  I learned about the wide array of food the Swedes enjoy, everything from surströmming (pungent fermented herring) to kanelbullar (cinnamon buns).  Not to mention the rules - like how one mustn’t stir the porridge, or how anything that fits on a piece of bread can be called a sandwich.  I learned to be more reserved in public like a Swede, but similarly just as warm and welcoming in close quarters.  I was adopted into an incredible family I love with all my heart.  I discovered a love for the people, for my beautiful city Göteborg, for the culture and for the language.

The last day I spent with my host family was so bittersweet, I still remember their last words to me as I boarded the train. They were the best part of my exchange and I'm so excited to see them in a few months!

The last day I spent with my host family was so bittersweet, I still remember their last words to me as I boarded the train. They were the best part of my exchange and I'm so excited to see them in a few months!

Famous Swedish Midsommar (Midsummer) celebrations always include these flower/wreath crowns, handmade with fresh picked wild flowers. Participating in the traditions of the culture is one of the greatest privileges of being an exchange student.

Famous Swedish Midsommar (Midsummer) celebrations always include these flower/wreath crowns, handmade with fresh picked wild flowers. Participating in the traditions of the culture is one of the greatest privileges of being an exchange student.

The YFU Sweden camps were always such amazing times. Staying up all night, bonding over the wonderful little cultural differences we discovered, teaching one another that friendship is a universal language. I can now honestly say I have friends in several different countries, eager to meet again in the future - despite whatever length of time has separated us.

The YFU Sweden camps were always such amazing times. Staying up all night, bonding over the wonderful little cultural differences we discovered, teaching one another that friendship is a universal language. I can now honestly say I have friends in several different countries, eager to meet again in the future - despite whatever length of time has separated us.

Friendships made while on exchange are both enduring and life changing.

Friendships made while on exchange are both enduring and life changing.

I will always be so grateful to my classmates for welcoming me into their school.

I will always be so grateful to my classmates for welcoming me into their school.

Studying abroad provided me with a second home and a new set of eyes through which to see the world.  I learned more about myself and became my own favorite travel companion as I navigated the emotional rollercoaster that is an exchange year.  It was a transformative period in my life and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have studied abroad with YFU.  My experience made it apparent to me once I returned home to the States that I had a responsibility to help other students get the chance to learn and grow the way I did, if for no other reason than to remember that sacred feeling of seeing Sweden for the first time from thousands of feet above ground.

The beauty of Sweden is something I never got over.

The beauty of Sweden is something I never got over.