My American Experience - impressions shared by Iulia Sorocan, FLEX finalist from Edinet

July, 21 2015

My name is Julia Sorocan, I’m 17 years old and I’m from little town in the north of Moldova - Edinet. Becoming a FLEX finalist was a childhood dream for me mostly because of the fact that my brother had this experience too and I saw how much it gave him.

I was trying to do my best in developing my English skills and besides that learning to deal with different life situations. I was always an active person being a volunteer in couple organizations in my town, managing different events and projects. In March of 2014 I was called by American Councils and told that I’ve been chosen as a finalist of FLEX program. That’s where my story begins.

It hard to describe how happy and excited I was about that. I found out information about my state and host family about a week before leaving Moldova, in August. I went to South Dakota in a little town - Faulkton with a population of 700 people. I lived on a farm with a wonderful lady, she is 75 and she is the most energic and has the most young soul of all the people that I know! I lived with her and her dog – a chocolate lab Coco. I went to Faulkton High School, which was pretty small (about 100 students). They are called Trojans and I think they really deserve this name. Most of the activities that I did were related to school. When I just got there I decided for myself that I’m going to do everything possible to make this year the best one, to try everything and achieve a lot of things.

Firstly, I started volleyball, which I never played before. I was in a team with wonderful girls, who supported and helped me because it was really hard for me. I liked going to games almost every day and having fun! After that, I joined the cheerleading team because it was a dream for me too. I have seen cheerleaders in so many movies and I couldn’t believe myself that now I’m part of them too. I had a lot of fun going to competitions with the girls and learning something new! When the basketball season started, I was debating whether I should do that or it’s too hard for me. And I decided that I need to try it although I never played it before and sincerely I’m not very good in sports. That was very exciting because I got to play in some games and even made a shot! That was the best feeling ever! Watching people standing up, shouting my name, clapping, and being so happy because of the shot that I made! They even wrote an article about that in the local newspaper. It was very pleasant to feel the support of that community and people. I also joined the golf team in the spring. I did One Act Play and all School Play, which again brought me a lot of positive emotions and new friends.

I was trying to be as active as I could, and stay tuned for everything that’s going on! During the year I familiarized with different American traditions. At the beginning all the football games were so much fun! It was nice to see how much they mean to the community and boys. I was honored to be the part of the homecoming royalty, participate in a snow queen contest, go with the seniors on the senior trip, which was probably the best trip of my life! I celebrated Thanksgiving with my host mother and her family. Then, we went to visit them in Wisconsin for Christmas and in Minneapolis for Easter. I traveled quite a bit while being in USA. Besides Wisconsin and Minnesota, we went to Chicago and spent there a wonderful day, we went to Mount Rushmore, Rapid City, Deadwood, Terry Pick in South Dakota.

During my exchange year, I also did some volunteering hours and some presentations about Moldova in my school and community. I liked to cook a lot of Moldovan food to share the traditions of my country with Americans. I think my years was great - full of bright colors, memories and wonderful people. I was lucky to be in a small, friendly town with kind people. To live in an understanding, loving family. To be a senior in a school with excellent teachers and students. Being and exchange student is a one in a lifetime experience; it gives a lot of opportunities and memories for the whole life!

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