Some are Leaving Us, but They are Never Really Gone

In a touching farewell to his host family and friends, Brazilian exchange student, Jose Baiao, admitted that while adapting and adjusting to his life in America was by no means easy, it was an experience he says he will never forget.

Jose’s story is somewhat atypical in the sense that he came for a short stay and managed to take away so much. Despite the shortened time frame of the five-month program he entered, Jose made friends everywhere he went and tried hard to absorb the country around him. When asked to describe his time here, he replied “In the beginning of my placement…it was not all that I was expecting it to be. Small town, five months without soccer…but five months later I really wish that I could stay.”

We always say that students who find a niche, who carve out a little nook for themselves within the community they are placed are the ones who have most success. In order to really become immersed in the program a student has to find ways to apply their skills and cultural understanding to the American way of life, and then they come to fully realize what the country and what ISE have to offer. Though he had to give up soccer, Jose took up football and adopted the hobbies of his fellow classmates and athletes, and his academic and athletic success have provided him with a host of memories to take back home: “I will never forget the…football games. I will never forget all the jokes. I will never forget Moutain Dew! I will never forget anything. And…one day I will come back, and you guys better be here to see me.”

Jose’s host family described him as a “model student” and they are sorry to see him go, but we know that when Jose finally boards his plane and waves goodbye, that it will not be the last time we see him. ISE wishes José and the rest of the returning students a safe trip and happy holidays. We cannot wait to see you again! Bon voyage!

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