Being an exchange student doesn’t only expose you to the culture of your host country, but also to the cultures of other exchange students who become your friends. I’ve been living in Costa Rica for the past 6-months and I have made so many new friends from all around the world. I’ve met people through my school, my host family, and of course through AFS.

It is very easy to create close relationships with exchange students since we’re all paddling in the same boat.

Panna Laura Kovács
Panna Laura Kovács

It’s hard to say it out loud, but these people become better friends during your exchange year than your best friends at home. No one understands you better than someone who lives and goes through the same struggles and experiences as you. And obviously no one can help you like them either.

The friends I’ve made here in Costa Rica have taught me so much about their culture, and I can also thank them for most of my Spanish knowledge. They showed me patience and kindness in times when I was struggling. They were the ones watching me make mistakes, change and adapt day by day. It must’ve been very hard not to laugh 🙂

The friends I’ve made through AFS have been by my side, making memories with me. Exploring, failing to speak the language sometimes, but we also completed each other in a way, I knew a word, they knew a word and at the end we made a sentence. We are there for each other when we are sick or when we miss our foods from home. It is amazing to cook something from our countries and then share it.

I’ve been very blessed to have made so many amazing friends whom with I can share this special experience that I will remember for a lifetime. Thank you AFS!


By Panna Laura Kovács, AFS student from Hungary on exchange in Costa Rica. Panna is one of the young deserving students who received the Changemakers scholarship to participate in a year-long school exchange program with AFS.