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My Home Away From Home

My Mentor Scout

When I first learned that I would spend a year in North Park, my first impression was why on earth should I be coming to this place in the middle of nowhere. I was poorly educated about the area and disappointed it was nowhere near the sea. A few months after I arrived here I felt like I’d never trade this experience to anything else. Although it took time for me to adapt to being around livestock so often and commuting by vehicle everywhere I went, I gained appreciation for the following three things, amongst others, that really stood out to me that influenced my life.

Rich history and magnificent nature of North Park was truly amazing and something I have taken home with me in my memories. I am fascinated by the breathtaking landscapes of the Rocky Mountains and diversity of flora and fauna of this region. I really enjoy driving over these mountain passes and seeing the wildlife of the Rockies. I have even Instagrammed a few videos. To me it is quite a unique experience because I grew up on the sea side and have not been to the mountains so much. Although I have visited a few countries I can honestly say that North Park landscapes are one of the dearest things that I have ever seen. I feel enlightened and inspired by the mountains here that offer me peace and I feel the necessity of coming here more often to experience the quality of the views and nature.

2011 Homecoming Queen and King, Aleksandra Bodekina and Sergio Rivera

I am a meat person myself and have a high appreciation for excellent quality meat. Hence, I fell in love with North Park beef. My favorite is a beef steak and I really like jerky as well. I am excited that I can purchase high quality meat here and it isn’t as expensive. In Finland, we have American exported beef but do not purchase it so often because of the cost. After living here for almost a year I understood the importance of agriculture for this part of the country and I witnessed how it unites people in their lifestyle. It is a challenging work that keeps people occupied. I find it admirable how organizations such as 4H has taught children the value of hard work and how it helps raising them up into hard-working adults. That’s why I think that agriculture plays a huge role in the whole American economy and has a strong influence on society as well.

Lastly, I found that the people here are incredible. I never thought I could ever find people that are so close to my heart. A few of them became sister souls to me. There is an interesting thing that even though people here have not traveled much, they are still quite open minded to my experience and my point of view. I came here as an exchange student in 2011 and I was quite impressed that Russian and American mentality is somewhat common such as the way we react and think about common things. People here are quite bold and straight forward. The conservative theology of how people live their life’s is quite similar to the values of my Russian heritage. Americans value family relationships and work ethic such as we do in Russia. I am glad to feel related to this country.

North Park really gave me an authentic experience of the Wild West. It has brought many opportunities to my life that helped me become who I am today. It is amazing how you can be so far away, but when I come here it still feels like home. North Park has become a part of me and will always be so.

American Host Familiy

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