Sometimes the (seemingly) simple things in life leave the biggest impressions.
For Academic Year in America (AYA) exchange students, life in the United States has been filled with many new things – both big and small. While many of their day-to-day experiences here have been totally new for them, these “firsts” might surprise some Americans who experience them regularly.
Here are some of our exchange students’ top three American “firsts” from their time in the USA so far – and they may surprise you!
Lisa, AYA student from Italy, hosted in Pennsylvania
1. Ice Cream
“My first purchase in the USA was ice cream! This was my first ice cream. I had it with my host family a few days after my arrival – it was great!”
2. Escape Room
“I loved the Escape Room! I went with 4 other exchange students and had so much fun.”
3. Lookout Deck Observation
“At the observation deck [in Philadelphia] I was speechless, especially the first time I went there (I went 3 times already). I was with my host mother, and we stayed until sunset.
Nicola, AYA Student from South Africa (YES Program), Hosted in Colorado
1. Baseball Game
“I went with friends and we sat on the mile-high seats which was pretty cool. I had my first sunflower seeds…the entire thing was such a cool experience! Plus, our team won which made it even better.”
2. Hiking Trip
“We went on a hike with our exchange group and Local Coordinator. We had such a good time. I had several blisters afterwards, but it was totally worth it.”
3. Football Game
“The football game is where I made all of my friends…I went alone and didn’t know anyone. I stood at the top of the bleachers for like 10 minutes… Then, when I started speaking, a girl turned around and asked me if I’m the girl from Africa. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Emna, AYA Student from Tunisia (YES Program), Hosted in Ohio
1. Art Museum Visit
“The Cleveland Museum of Art was a giant place that had different art works from around the world… I went to the museum with my Local Coordinator (the sweetest) and other AYA students. We spent 2 hours touring the Museum… They were all flexible and we had fun together.”
2. Hibachi Dinner
“The hibachi restaurant was a great experience! [Our chef] was so kind – he would ask me each time if I liked the food and said, ‘If you don’t like it, I will quit!'”
3. Root Beer
“I didn’t like the root beer…it tasted funny!”
To read Emna’s full story on her first month in the USA, click here!
Nicola, Emna, and Lisa have had an exciting time experiencing all that the USA has to offer – from root beer and ice cream, to baseball games and hiking trips. What firsts have YOU experienced as an AYA exchange student or host family? Share your AYA story with us to be featured!