Cropped exchange stories fuyuan zheng

Virtual Storybook: How Peter Pan changed my life
May 07, 2021 12:37

If I did not choose to become a YFU exchange student five years ago, my life now might be entirely different. Or, I can also say that my exchange year spent in Virginia has completed me as a person with dreams and passions.

Even though I had always been familiar with the stage as a musician, the theatre was never a theme of my life until I met my host family. Honestly speaking, I didn't even know what it meant when my host mom, Marty, told me that she was directing the musical Peter Pan Jr. at my young brother Liam’s academy. The only thing I knew was that I would have to help with her rehearsals every day after school so that she can finish early and drive me back home. At that time, if anyone told me that I would be in love with theatre and pursue a bachelor’s degree in it, I would say it must be a joke. However, life is always full of surprises. I became more and more interested in musicals and theatre as I got involved in the production as my host mom’s assistant. The feeling of working as a team and making the impossible come true really fascinated me, and my relationship with my host family also became closer as we shared more experiences and common topics together. During the second semester of my exchange year, I decided to take a theatre class at school and continue my interests in it. Before leaving the U.S., I even got a chance to go to Broadway and see Les Misérables with some other exchange students.

Five years have passed, now I am a junior student at Wake Forest University, studying theatre and anthropology as my majors. I am still in close touch with my host family. Last summer, when I was stuck at school due to COVID-19 and the travel restriction, Marty and Liam drove all the way from Virginia to North Carolina to visit me. I showed them around the campus and told them about my experience here as a theatre and anthropology student. Recalling our days living together, I astonishingly found that both of my academic interests stemmed from my exchange year. How interesting it is! A decision that I made at the age of 16 has completely changed the trajectory of my life.

by Fuyuan Zheng | YFU China Alumni

We hope that this story will inspire you to take a look on your life, how your YFU experience has shaped your decisions and personal growth. We will be pleased to read and share your story within the YFU community.

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Cropped exchange stories fuyuan zheng