Foreign Exchange Program

Tessa Gray - Montana to Switzerland 2010


Montana to Switzerland 2010

Being an IFYE in 2010 was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I primarily wanted to be an IFYE to travel but also to get myself out of my comfort zones. I was a very shy, introverted person before my adventure began. I even cringed at the thought of public speaking. What better way to help me out then to travel to a foreign country alone without knowing anyone around! 

I chose to live in Switzerland for six months to get the full cultural experience. While in Switzerland I worked on many dairy farms and in a grain factory. My tasks varied from day to day. I could be washing cheese in the cellar, milking a cow or planting seeds in a garden. At the grain factory I got to vacuum and clean shelves. I also was a nanny, a cook, housekeeper and stable hand. No matter what task I was assigned, I did it with a smile on my face and new appreciation of Swiss culture. I learned how to be very resourceful and live simply.

My families were very kind, some were challenging at times but I became part of their family. I made many friends on my adventures overseas. Some friends from Greece, Scotland, England, South Korea, Taiwan, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Finland and too many more to list. This trip definitely made a huge difference with me. I came back a more confident person. I frequently revert back to many fond memories of my experience and still keep in touch with the families 5 years later.

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