I never thought that I would think of another place as my home the same way I think about Stockholm being my home. But after spending 10 months in Las Vegas and getting to know the people, the culture, the school system, and the area, I feel just as at home in Nevada as I do in Sweden.

I’m in my second year out of three of high school in Sweden, but last year was not my first year. I spent the school year of 18/19 in Las Vegas. I was 16 when I packed my one and only bag and moved away from my family, friends, school, and comfort zone for 10 months of an irreplaceable experience. The experience of studying abroad has changed me and my whole life and I’m pretty sure that everyone who has studied abroad can say the same thing. It’s not a year in your life, it’s a life in a year. After my exchange year in Nevada, I can truly say that I have found my second home.

I learned that everything won’t go as planned and that everything won’t be like you expected it to be. It’s easy to plan ahead and believe everything will go a certain way, but to let go of expectations and taking things as they come is the best way to tackle it all. I moved to a city that I had never been to before and I couldn’t even imagine Las Vegas the same way I see it now two years ago.

I’ve learned to say yes to everything, literally everything. For example, writing this blog post. Having the luck to be able to go on exchange offers so many other opportunities as well. It opens up opportunities for new friendships from all over the world if you’re ready to throw yourself into new situations. I have met people that will forever be a part of my life because of my exchange and I have learned what a huge impact people can have on your life even in such a small amount of time. The crazy part is that I never saw myself living anywhere else than Stockholm before my exchange year and now I see the whole world as my future potential home.

Lastly, I have learned that a year goes by quicker than you think – enjoy every second of it.

Written by Filippa Agnekil