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My Experience Living With a stranger from Mexico

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Often, I feel like my life is so similar to everybody else’s. I constantly think that I have never had one unique experience and that stagnancy is a state that is difficult for me to escape. However, I do believe that we all have that one interesting experience, that we sometimes adopt as our only personality trait. Mine happened during my sophomore year of high school. My little Catholic school had an exchange student program, and students from all over the world came to study for the academic year. During my second year of High School, my introverted family of four took on a challenge that we never even considered doing: hosting an exchange student from Mexico. It doesn’t sound that exciting, or life-changing; many families in my town hosted exchange students that went to my school. However, for me, this was the greatest experience of my life so far.

I started my sophomore year normally, as a fifteen-year-old who’s just thankful she’s not a freshman anymore. We had about ten students from Mexico in our class, and I remember seeing Fernanda in my homeroom the first day. I was envious of her beauty. She had tanned skin, a cute nose, super long lashes, and had already caught the attention of everyone in the room. It wasn’t until two weeks later my mother called a family meeting. She proclaimed that  Fernanda would be living with us now, since her first host family did not work out. I was super nervous to be gaining a sister. I was worried she would not like me.

The first month was awkward. We ran into each other in the bathroom getting ready before school. We didn’t know what to talk about with each other.  She spent a lot of her time in her bedroom with the door closed; constantly face timing friends and family back in Mexico, talking in a language I didn’t understand. I was afraid she was admitting that she wanted to go home.

Emily in Paris. (L to R) Lily Collins as Emily, Ashley Park as Mindy in episode 209 of Emily in Paris
Photo by Stéphanie Branchu/Netflix

This friendship feels fragile, we are so far apart and live such different lives. We are separated by borders,  countries,  and cultures. We go so long without checking in with each other. I take comfort in knowing these types of bonds are unbreakable and in her texts:

“Your home in Mexico is always awaiting you.”

The most unexpected experiences are always the most unforgettable!

Madison Ryan

West Chester '24

I'm a Junior at West Chester University with a major in English and minor in Media and Culture. Here to share stories and learn from incredible women.