Amid much fun, laughter, studies and anecdotes, my friends and I are completing our four months of study at Binghamton University thanks to the National Student Exchange program. We are from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.

Over the course of the semester, I have done many things with the friends I came here with and the new friends I’ve made. We’ve gone to excellent plays such as “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” “Forecast” and “God of Carnage.” Many Fridays we would go to the Union for Late Nite, where we bowled, played billiards and saw live shows, including Tony Lucca. Our other friends from Puerto Rico have visited us from nearby and they have had a great time as well.

When I first got here, I was very happy because I saw snow for the first time. The first month here, the new weather was awesome, but then I missed the warmth of my beautiful island. The only thing that kept me warm was the hope that someday it would be warmer. But in spite of living alone in a totally different country where many people speak different languages and are from different parts of the world, I have overcome all the challenges that I encountered.

I remember on the first day of class I received an email called the B-line, and I asked a student named Daniel, who eventually became my close friend, if it was a bus that drives you to events and meetings. I quickly learned what it actually was.

Besides all the activities and events offered by the University, I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit since coming to Binghamton. My friends and I have visited New York City where we walked around Times Square, Central Park and the zoo. During spring break, I visited my cousin who lives in Hazlet, New Jersey, and he took me to Atlantic City where we walked around the boardwalk.

After spring break, I met up with a friend at Cornell University since he was helping some high school students from Puerto Rico in a United Nations competition. The trip to Cornell was phenomenal and it made me realize that we have the opportunity to go anywhere; you just need the motivation and the desire to go.

We will miss Binghamton. One Puerto Rican friend of mine loved to go to Einstein Bros Bagels and order a mocha coffee with a bagel. She also liked the fact that in this university there are a variety of races. On the other hand, another friend was impressed by the facilities, such as the dining halls and the lecture halls. I will miss this semester in Binghamton a lot; for the good times I have spent, all the places that I went and how much it has helped me in my growth as a person and as a student, I will always hold Binghamton dear to me.