It took me just a couple of weeks to get to know nice people in my school and start hanging out with them. Being so different than others made them interested in getting to know me. However, finding real friends has taken five months, but I think I have them now too.

Alejandra Betancourt
Alejandra Betancourt

The best thing could happen in my entire exchange year is finding good friends. Before my exchange, I could never imagine how important they were going to be in my life but now I know that they are the best people I could ever meet in all my life. At first it was a bit hard because of the language barrier. Now it’s so much easier because Finnish language is getting easier for me every day and now I can make my friends laugh with my mistakes and my way of speaking the new language. They also help me get better every day.

After school there’s not much things we do together, but sometimes we go somewhere and spend time with each other. In Finland, people are busy with their school homework and hobbies but they are always there for me when I need them.

Friendship here is different than in my country. In Colombia you consider that your friend is everyone who is nice to you, but here friendship is seen differently. To call someone a friend, that person needs to know you well and share a lot with you and then you know that they are your friends. I can’t say enough what amazing people they are!


By Alejandra de Dios Betancourts, AFS student from Colombia on exchange in Finland. Alejandra is one of the young deserving students who received the Changemakers scholarship to participate in a year-long school exchange program with AFS.