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Lifetime Memories and Friendships Made through Walnut Creek Sister Cities International

By Sophia W

The Youth Ambassador Exchange trip to Hungary was the best week of my life. I tried new foods and activities that I was surprised I did. I loved the culture and the people so much. They were all so friendly and caring! I didn’t get homesick at all! My Hungarian host family helped me so much and they were like my second family, especially my exchange student Zsofi. We had such a close bond which I will cherish forever. I’ve gotten homesick from my Hungarian home ever since I’ve landed in America.

I can’t wait to go back and visit my family!

Lifetime Memories Made through Walnut Creek Sister Cities International

By Mia DJ

The Youth Ambassador Exchange trip to Italy was one of the most memorable experiences of my life to date. The best parts were not Venice, Milan and Pisa but forming bonds with Isabella, my Italian sister, and her family. Learning about Italian culture, food and history prepared me for my time in Noceto.

Italian gelato is the definitely best and we had lots of it!

Being a youth ambassador gave me the opportunity to make friends half-way across the world, represent Walnut Creek, and also form bonds with students from other schools in Walnut Creek that were part of the program. It was an opportunity I would highly recommend to any current 7th grader!

A Hidden Treasure

By Cassidy B

When people think of Europe, their minds initially go towards Venice or Paris and even Athens, the known treasures of Europe. Not many people even consider Budapest or Siófok for that matter, I know I didn’t. The sights, experiences and memories I gained from my time in Hungary were some of the best of my life, some that I may have never experienced if not for the YAE!! There was always a smell of cinnamon and paprika filling the air and the food was just that. Every pastry, meal even, were those filled with sugar, sour cream and paprika.

The values and morals of those I met were some of the most free-willed, kindest, free spirited people I met in my life. They were so welcoming and down-to-earth. Siófok, as a whole, was full of compassion and I know its cliché but it felt as if the whole town was just one gigantic Brady Bunch. I saw so many glorifying sights and heard just as many tall tales and historical stories trailing all the back to world war II. But my most treasured memories are the ones I spent with Hanna, my exchange student, her friends and family, because those are the ones that will stay with me throughout my life. The true takeaway from this experience in my mind is that Siófok, Hungary really is a hidden treasure of Europe.

Seeing the country as a Citizen and not a Tourist

By Ian H

The opportunity to be a Walnut Creek Sister Cities Ambassador has completely changed my life, it is something I will talk about and remember for many years to come. I think that I will be friends with the other American and Italian Ambassadors for a long time. The American and Italian Ambassadors shared an incredible experience together, therefore they will always have a connection. I will tell my kids about this trip and they might tell their kids too. I had so much fun and it was one of the best weeks of my life, I hope that my partner and some of the other Italian students will stay friends for a long time.

This trip has made me want to explore the world even more and now that I’ve seen other countries, from a citizen’s perspective, not a tourist. Seeing other countries as a citizen instead of a tourist made the country seem so much better because you’re not just seeing the incredible things, you can see the daily life and really experience Italy. It makes me want to see the world even more and explore the earth.

The trip has opened my eyes to the wonders of the world. I would love to go back to Italy to see the southern part and explore places like Sicily and Rome.

The Opportunity to Experience Another Culture

by Alexandra B

After a long day of traveling, we were finally on the bus to Noceto. The first thing I noticed was the colors of the buildings. They were all pink, orange, yellow, or white. Then it hit me, I was in Italy and I would finally be meeting Anna (my Italian exchange student)! As we drove up to City Hall all I could think about was how excited I was to spend time with her. When the bus stopped all the American Ambassadors rushed out to greet our exchange students. I ran off the bus and hugged Anna. I was so happy to finally be in Italy.

After a busy week, it was time to leave. On the bus back to Noceto, I thought about everything we had done. We made countless TikToks with the Italians. We sang songs together on the long bus rides. We walked around Noceto together; seeing their Castle and getting gelato. We biked around Lucca together. And on the last night, we danced to our favorite songs and said goodbye even though we would see each other in the morning.

This trip has taught me so much, I have learned how to better communicate with others (especially in another language) and how to go with the flow. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to experience another culture and meet these wonderful people.