My Cornerstone Story from Our First Exchange Student
My name is Nahomi Arellano, and I am currently a senior at Cornerstone Preparatory Academy. An interesting fact about me is that I am Cornerstone’s first ever foreign exchange student. I was born and raised in Saltillo, Mexico, where I attended a bilingual, multicultural private school and learned English for over 14 years. Although I learned English there, my practice speaking the language started on an unforgettable journey when I first came to live in America.
How my journey began...
One ordinary day, I received a phone call from my aunt, Xiomara Vehrs, who happens to be the Spanish Teacher at Cornerstone Prep. She asked me to come to live with her and my uncle, Ron Vehrs, and attend Cornerstone for a school year to study abroad. At first, I was very excited. I kept telling all my friends and close family members that I was going to move to Atlanta to study for a school year. For months the thought that I was going to a different country to study made me very excited and happy. As the day came closer, I started to get nervous; the bad kind of nervous. I started to realize that I was going to leave everything behind. My friends, my family, my country, tacos (the hardest one), everything. It came to the point that I refused to go away from home.
"I kept asking God over and over again: “What should I do? What is it that you want me to do?” God spoke to me that night and He told me something I carry with me everyday: 'Trust me, and I will provide.'
Fear & Anxiety
I remember going to my mom the next day and talking to her about how I was scared to leave home. Till this day I am pretty sure that she just wanted me to leave home because she was way too insistent about me leaving… it was very suspicious. The truth is, she had studied abroad before, and she wanted me to experience the same things that she did when she was my age. I remember telling my mom: “Fine. I’ll do it. But I will do it under one condition if I don’t like it…I want to fly back home that same day.” And then I remember the words God told me the night before, and I knew everything was going to be fine.
My first time at Cornerstone Prep
My first day of class
They were very nice and curious about me. They were asking me questions like; “So do they have the same kind of toilets in Mexico? Do you have to ride a donkey to school every day?” It was funny to me that they were asking me all these questions, I had been in the USA before, so I knew what America was about, but they had never been to Mexico, so they felt the need to ask me how it’s like. And just in case you are curious, Yes, we do have the same toilets, and no, I did not ride a donkey to school, sorry.
“Do you remember that one time that you told me that the first few months were going to be painful and blah blah blah?” “Yes,” my dad replied, “Well, I am still waiting for the pain to come because I am having a blast!!” My dad didn't find it funny, but it was the truth!
I had so much fun that I did not have time to miss my family, and it was then when I remembered about the “first few months, I was going to miss my family to the point it would hurt.” So I decided to call my dad and tell him: “Do you remember that one time that you told me that the first few months were going to be painful and blah blah blah?” “Yes,” my dad replied, “Well, I am still waiting for the pain to come because I am having a blast!!” My dad didn't find it funny, but it was the truth!
One year stretches to two then three...
It was then when I remembered that night when God told me that He would provide, and He did. He provided me with a Christian school filled with teachers and students that I carry in my heart every day; He provided friends, a local church, and a Christian youth group. He gave me opportunities to travel to interesting places I had never been before like Colorado, Kentucky, and Guatemala.
You can’t live your life based on “what ifs.” Go out and explore God’s journey for you; and who knows, maybe you will end up having the best time of your life, just like I did at Cornerstone.
Thank you to everyone
I finish this by saying thank you. And to all Cornerstone students out there thinking to study abroad, do it. Good or bad, it is an experience, and you will learn from every experience. You can’t live your life based on “what ifs.” Go out and explore God’s journey for you; and who knows, maybe you will end up having the best time of your life, just like I did at Cornerstone.