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    Posted March 14, 2014 by
    Savièse St. Germain, Switzerland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    Family is more than blood


    When I came to my host country which was Switzerland I felt generally puzzled and kind of lost. I was 16 years old and did not speak of word of French. I spent the first month with a welcome family where a lot of problems caused by the language barrier. After having finished my first month language course I was suppose to start school. I still hadn't found a permanent family and I was getting worried, since there wasn't much space for my at my current family, which had agreed to take me in for a month because of kindness.


    It was then that they found me, the people that I would later on call my family. I can't remember at what exact moment I realized, it might have been when they threw a birthday party and my whole family showed up, when I had started dating and my brother told me that if whoever I was dating was mean to me he would have a problem with my big brother, their endless patient to teach me their language or all the wonderful trips that I took with my family, into parks, up in the Swiss mountains and even to France at two occasions. Whatever moment it was it was a bond that lasted.


    After my return in 2009 we stayed in contact and my family visited me to my native country, Iceland. I returned to see them two years later, introducing them to my partner and telling them that I had decided to study French at university because of the year that I spent with them. After having spent a year at the University of Iceland I decided to have an international experience again, signing in for an Erasmus program in the Free French Speaking University of Brussels. When my Swiss family heard of me having moved closer to them they decided to pay me a visit and we caught up on all the things that have happened since the last time we saw one another.


    My adoptive mother tells me that sometimes people get confused when they see the photos of her children that she keeps in her wallet because they notice that one of us, that being me, obviously from a different biological background than my two adoptive siblings. Still she always refers to me as "her girl " and I call them my family, sometimes confusing those around me. But for me it makes perfect sense, because I have two families now -one that lives in Switzerland and one that lives in Iceland. For family is not only those you are biologically related to you, they are the ones that care for you and love you unconditionally.

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