Exchange Student Series; People in Texas

I have met so many people in the last five months. Often I was intimidated by the people here, not because of their personality but because they are so different from the people I am used to. 

I would say pretty much all of them are very nice and interested in my culture. They want to know why I am here and how I like it. And the more I talk about it, the more questions they have: Where is your family? What is your favorite food so far? Are the people here nicer than in Switzerland? Are you going to be here a senior year?

Whenever I get bombarded with questions like that, I feel very proud to be able to answer all of them. In moments like those, I realize where I am and what I am literally doing. And even after several months, it is still a shock that I am actually living in America right now. 

Before your exchange year starts, the one thing you hear all the time is “Don‘t have any expectations.” But in reality, there are expectations for everything. I had some kind of expectation for every little detail of this year. But to be honest, I had the most expectations for the people I will meet. And those expectations were proven wrong very quickly. 

When I, as a European, think about Americans, I think about very open, talkative and loud people. And even though that sounds very basic and boring, I always felt very drawn to people like that. That was also one of the reasons I chose the US for my exchange year. And to be completely honest, on the first day of school back in August I was pretty shocked and caught off guard with how different the people here really are. See, if I thought about Texas before, I thought about cowboys and farms. So you can believe me that I was pretty surprised when half of my school was Mexican. It is pretty sad to me how much Latinos get forgotten, even though Texas is this close to Mexico. 

Looking back to that time, I can say I was kind of disappointed by the unexpected change. Not because of the people themselves, but mostly because I had this idea in my head of how I will meet people and hang out with them. And those expectations kind of fell apart. But now that I can look at the whole situation I can say that I am glad about the people I met here and could not imagine anything else. Turns out all the people with the tip to not have any expectations were right all along.


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