On November 30th, my Paraguayan classmates and I had our Prom/Graduation Ceremony!

It’s really the polar opposite of Prom in the United States. Here in Paraguay, graduates invite all of their relatives to come to the dance. They set out a table with food to munch on and bring coolers full of drinks. Family, friends, and fellow graduates eat, talk and share dances.

Showing off my Prom dress.

Sharing the Prom experience with my Host Family members.

All of the 3rd year students get “presented,” which means either their mother or father parades them in front of all the friends and family gathered. I presented with my host brother and was the last to go out.

It wasn’t as a dramatic of an experience for me as it was for my classmates. For them, it represented the beginning of a new chapter in their lives, where they have to make their own decisions and depart from their beloved classmates, whom they spent 4-6 years with.

Me with my awesome Prom date!

Dancing the night away.

The bond between my classmates is clearly very strong due to the huge amount of time they have spent together throughout secondary school. In Paraguay, the students stay in the same classroom the whole time while the teachers shuffle in and out. This creates more of a family of brothers and sisters rather a ‘class’ for teenagers. While I can relate to moving on from high school, I can’t imagine the feeling of leaving a family so intimate.

My amazing Paraguayan classmates, whom I will never forget.

I only got to spend little time with this group of students, but I will never forget them. They accepted me when I could hardly speak a word. They helped me so much more than they can realize, as they helped to immerse me more into their culture and their family of classmates. I will forever carry them in my heart.