This is not going to be in perfect English, but I want everyone to be able to read this.

When I left Finland I was so excited, a little nervous, but sooo excited. In the plane I couldn't do anything but watch movies and stare at the ceiling. I remember looking for other people my age who might be exchange students too. I actually thought this one student was a volunteer! Turned out that there were a bunch of students on our flight and we got to chat on our way to the hotel.

It was really easy to talk to other students, because they're going trough the same stuff as I was. Leaving family, friends, your whole life behind for a whole year. I literally fell in love with the students and volunteers on day 1. Their smiling faces and energy and knowing that we're in this together made me realize that.

All the orientations and activities AFS organized (and the Color Run) have left me a whole lot of memories that I will never forget. Even if we were sitting in a room in small groups for hours we always managed to have fun. Actually we didn't even need phones or internet to have fun and enjoy the time together. Except all the beautiful Snapchats. I can't describe how much the people I've met have made my stomach hurt from all the laughter and made me feel a lot better during my exchange year. They made me feel better about myself, being this kind of insecure mess who doesn't know how to respond to compliments.

Choosing the program was a pain. I never thought about the people I would meet. I chose AFS because of its volunteer work, I knew that the people do this because they want to learn about other cultures and want to be part of these students' experience. They don't do it for the money and making a profit. That's what made me an AFSer. I can't thank enough the volunteers for always being there for us and never letting us down. They were there to teach us how to adapt, how to make a list of what we want to do during our year, how to pack, how to prepare for leaving. They even taught us how to open high school lockers! They are the aunts and uncles in this family. Not to mention about my host-familly, who has been nothing but amazing letting me experience it all. They deserve their own post.

I don't know what I would do without you all. It started with tired smiles and handshakes and it ends with tears, hugs, kisses and goodbyes. I've never been this happy and sad at the same time. I never thought I would make this many friends during my year and I never thought I would have a huge space in my heart that was waiting to be filled with this much love to totally new people. I didn't know that I could do this. I was just an awkward girl from a really small town, I was sure that I wouldn't make friends and I would be left alone. I couldn't even imagine this, not in my wildest dreams. It has been proven that people who are experiencing the same stuff as you are, will always have that connection which no one can understand. 

Thank you for everything. Literally e v e r y t h i n g. There's nothing that I would have changed, well, I would have gotten us a little more time. I really think we've become a family, and I hope we'll stay as one. This year has been the best one of my lilfe and that's all thanks to you and your support and love. I love you.

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