When I was sixteen, I went to the United States for an exchange year. I had the most wonderful experience, and when I returned to Holland, my sister wanted only one thing: to go as well. Four years later, four years of waiting, and four years of getting more and more excited, she went to the States, and she had an experience just as wonderful.

Of course, my parents wanted to visit her at the end of the year to meet her host family, her friends, her teachers, and to see the neighbourhood she had been living for a year. Obviously, I wanted to go as well. Not only would I see my sister again, but since she was in same area as I was (her host parents were my teachers when I was over in the States), I would be able to see my host parents again. And I also was looking forward to just be back in the States again, because I hadn’t been in years!

We decided to go over to the States the week of Lisa’s graduation. However, I still had school that week, and my finals would start the next week. So I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go… But with some help from my teachers and a lot of hard work I was able to skip the last week and go visit my sister.

Only we did not tell her. So when we arrived, Lisa was in for a big surprise! The rest of the week, Lisa showed us around her neighbourhood and her school, and introduced us to a lot of people at a lot of parties. In a week that went flying by, I luckily was able to see some people from when I was over, but the highlight of the week definitely was Lisa’s graduation.

A friend of Lisa gave a speech about “the foreign kid” to the entire audience. We felt very honored, and I was a little jeaulous when she stepped down the stage with an American High School diploma. I was still a junior during my exchange year, so I could not graduate, but Lisa’s big smile for the rest of the day was worth a lot more.