AFS students share stories of summers away
by Sarah  I spent my summer in Magenta, a small town in northern Italy located about half an hour outside of Milan.
My first month there I lived with a family in which no one spoke English. I had a mother and father, a brother Darrio who was thirteen, and a sister Mariha who was nine. After that first month my sister Daniela, who was 17, arrived, and she spoke English, which changed my situation considerably.
It is impossible to describe a typical day because I did such a variety of things. Every day brought new and different experiences. I could go to my friend's watermelon stand, to the local canal, to a pool in a nearby town, or the weekly market. At night we went to discos, usually in Milan. If we did not go to discos, we would hang out at area ice cream places and eat incredible Italian gelato (ice cream).
I traveled to a seaside town called Arengaho for one week with a friend, and I also spent a week in the mountains in Cervinia, where it is just a short ski to Switzerland. I also spent a day in Venice and stopped in Verona for a few hours. My last days there were spent in Rome where I saw the Coliseum, the Vatican and many other incredible sights.
Traveling was not the main importance of my trip. Relating to people and a different way of living caused me to accept many situations and I gained a lot from this experience. I definitely recommend it to those of you who now have the same opportunity.
by Sue   I spent my summer in Ecuador, South America. I lived in Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador.
During my two-month stay, I visited Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and a beach two hours from my home called Salinas.
My family consisted of a mother and father, four sisters, and a maid. The suburbs of Guayaquil are dangerous and poverty stricken, so luckily my house was located near the center of the city.
Although Guayaquil was quite dirty and loud, the friendly people made the city seem warm and beautiful. The life there is more simple and laid-back, which added to making this summer the best time of my life.
by John  I lived in an Australian town of about 44 inhabitants--counting dogs and cats.
My host father was a farmer and owned two farms of about 1000 acres each. My family was very respected in the area because they were really good farmers.
My school had about 500 students from a radius of about thirty miles. I found that the school was a little easier than Maine South. The students in general are a little immature, but I know some freshmen who are worse.
While I was there, I played Australian Rules football. It is the best sport I have ever played. Every weekend we would have a game against one of the other local teams. It usually turned out to be an all day and all night event.
My stay in Australia was the best thing that ever happened to me. I suggest to all of you sophomores that if you get the chance to go, you will never regret it.