Roda Reflects on Year
Young woman from Somaliland laughing on New York City beach

Somalilander takes stock on last day of 2019/20 school year–insight for the new class?

I finished school today, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my year so I can enjoy my last weeks with my friends and family. WE DID IT! 

Hello, I'm an exchange student from Somaliland. Right now, I'm living with my awesome host family, the Pattersons. Being an exchange student in U.S was a great opportunity in my life. I had a chance to teach people about my country and get to know American life. At first, it was so exciting to be in a new atmosphere, meeting new people, trying new foods, and going to American school and football games.

As time passed, I began to miss my old life, the family and friends I left behind, and understood how important they were to me. During my year, I confronted myself and decided what was right and wrong and what was best for me. I became more independent, mature, and self-confident. I gained a better understanding of the world by expanding my horizons, and I had a wonderful experience here.

Thanks to you PAX for giving me this opportunity. Thanks to the Patterson family for hosting me and sharing their American culture with me. They were the greatest hosts I could ever ask for. They made me feel like their real daughter. I enjoyed every moment staying with them. And to my cousins, you guys became more than a best friend and a family to me. Special thanks to my coordinators, who always supported me and helped me to overcome my homesickness. I'd also like to give thanks to my teachers, coaches, and teammates/classmates. You all mean a lot to me, and I'll never forget ya'll! Goodbye Portland; goodbye U.S.A!

–Roda (PAX Means Peace Scholar 2019/20, Somaliland), hosted by the Patterson family (OR)