“I am Mehrangiz Abduvaliyeva (Monica). I became the FLEX finalist last year in March and it changed my whole life. In May, my placement organization BFF found a host family for me and in August I came to Colorado. When I came here I knew that this kind of opportunity will be given to me only once. So, I wanted to try everything new, I wanted to use all of the opportunities and be the amazing host student for my host parents. My adventures started in August 2023…

I traveled to lots of places in Colorado. I saw the elk from really close for the first time in my life. My host parents brought me and my double placement to mesmerizing places, that I still cannot believe that It was my eyes that captured them all.

I turned 17 this year and I celebrated my birthday with my host family in America. It was full of memories. Especially when my host family used the fire alarm to congratulate me at midnight. 

At school I made lots of  friends and joined clubs. I did Speech and Debate for seven months and got four medals for my achievements in regional competitions. I gave a speech about World Peace and Gratitude. In my last tournament I got third place and accomplishing this achievement when English is my fourth language, was unbelievable for me. But, I know the reason for my achievements: my host dad. He trained me and helped me a lot to achieve these accomplishments and l will always thank him for all of the contributions he did for my education. 

I also joined the R.O.T.C club at school. I am in a team now and I am so proud to be part of this club. I also applied to a few colleges during my exchange year. I would say the contribution my host parents made for my education is a lot, since they supported me during this process. I am always grateful for having a host family like them. 

I believe that being an exchange student is hard sometimes. But not when you have a double placement. Muskan is my best friend and supporter here. I am always grateful for having a friend like her from Pakistan. 

I have completed  92 hours of volunteering for now. I would say volunteering is becoming a part of that community and you always feel proud for helping others without thinking of your benefits. 

In March I participated in Civic Education Week in Washington D.C. This experience taught me leadership and collaboration skills. CEW was the best workshop ever for me.

In conclusion, this exchange year was full of joy and challenges. I learned how to live out of my comfort zone and become a successful person. Now whenever I tell people about my culture, I feel like the ambassador of my country and I am proud of myself for achieving it. I want to thank the U.S Department of State, BFF(Borderless Friends Forever) placement organization and my host family for giving me an amazing opportunity to experience the American way of life and to be an example of my culture.”

Mehrangiz Abduvaliyeva


An Exchange Student's Experience: Monica (Uzbekistan) 1