by Matteo Salazar (AFS Student to Germany 2018-2019)

To be honest, as I was getting ready for my trip abroad, I was more prepared for being alone and away from family than talking to and meeting new people. But, this wasn’t the case when I met my fellow AFS-ers for the first time. Even though we weren’t warmed up to each other right away, ice quickly started breaking due to the fun, cheery, and welcoming atmosphere coming from both AFS participants and moderators. Quickly, strangers turned to friends as relationships started to form amongst ourselves. I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one who was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and talk with people I’ve never met before. I was also happy that all of us wanted to make the most out of our AFS journeys. Eventually, out of this orientation I have gained wonderful new friends and partners as we travel around the world. I am grateful that I have met these promising, empathetic, and inspiring young individuals, who I am glad to be sharing my journey with.