Every year, the State Department brings almost 2,000 high school students from almost 50 countries to live with an American host family and go to high school for a year. They return home to make a difference in their communities and share what they learned in the United States.
Being an exchange student is an amazing opportunity.
I was excited to have the experience to live with an American family, go to a normal high school, have friends to do high school stuff with.
I’m definitely very lucky to have my host family. We do a lot of stuff together, my family is very active and they try to involve me in a lot of things like we went roller skating and sometimes we go bowling.
I’m teaching my host dad how to play guitar and we’re just having fun and those are the really memorable events that I remember.
It’s like I have a family here, I can tell people that I have two families now.
With my host family I also go to do a lot of community service so we were really involved in all kinds of projects, for example, Habitat for Humanity. That was something new to me that I really enjoyed doing.
I think volunteering will be the most important thing I will bring, but also my experience and everything else but I will really try hard to work more for people in my country.
This whole year really impacted me very much.
I gained a lot of independence. I learned how to make my own decisions for myself. I learned about American culture, of course. You get to realize that all the things you see in movies, that are portrayed in newspapers or media and stuff like that isn’t necessarily true.
I can say I have really good friends in America and we still keep in touch every day on Facebook and I’m really, really looking forward to seeing them.
You realize that you have a lot of things in common with people from all around the world.
I’m very, very proud that I did this program and it has definitely become a huge factor in, I think, each step of my life, each success story.
It won’t just be a year where you’ve been in America, it will be the year that changed your life—for me it did.