by Piroska Maurer

Student from Pacific Ridge School, Class of 2019

Hi, my name is Piroska Maurer and I’m currently living my Californian dream.

I am an exchange student from Switzerland. I always wanted to participate in an exchange program to the U.S. to improve my English and to get to learn about another culture.  Through an exchange experience, I also hope to get a new view of myself and to improve myself. About a year ago, I started to plan my exchange. I looked at a couple of schools in California, and I finally decided to attend Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad.  Pacific Ridge School is very different from my school in Switzerland, but in my opinion, it is a very good school.  The students are very friendly, I feel like I found a second home here.  I love the climate of San Diego, and the people I have met here are also very friendly and lay back.

One of the things that I felt nervous about studying abroad was to live with a foreign host family.  I remember how my heart was pounding when I first landed in San Diego and when I was about to meet my temporary host mother. As we got on well with each other immediately, and as she showed me a lot around Encinitas, I realized that my fear was not necessary. After I moved in with my actual host family, we found that it was not a good fit after a few weeks. Luckily, with the help of IEM, I moved into a new host family and I found my second family.  During the weekends, we always have so much fun together.  The weekends have become my favorite time of the weeks. I’m sad to leave!

From this exchange experience, I have learned a lot about people and especially about myself.  I think this is a really precious experience and I would recommend it to everyone.