Several of last year’s AYA students took some time to write letters to the upcoming class of high school exchange students, which we will continue to share throughout the summer months. They wrote about their reflections, advice and best wishes to help next year’s group get the best start on making the most of their upcoming exchange experience.
The messages in these letters are valuable—to all participants in Academic Year in America programs. Host families and Local Coordinators can read these letters to understand the student’s perspective, and they can share these letters with upcoming students to help them get prepared.
This week’s letter is from Andi from Indonesia. Andi was a YES student and spent her high school exchange living with a host family in New York.
Dear future exchange students,
It is okay to feel nervous, afraid, and shy. Just don’t stay that way for too long. Get up, and remember that when you have your first step in America, you are the main character of your exchange year. Make it the best of all. Think about whether you want this to be a good year or just like some other year in your life. But I bet you, this is not going to be like the years that you spend in your home country. It’s a whole different culture and things. A lot of things to learn and try—and do not ever be afraid to embrace new stuff.
If you have a problem, don’t just be quiet and keep it to yourself. Talk, talk, and talk. You will never solve it if you don’t tell what is wrong. It’s okay. People around you will support and help you. Remember that always.
Be active! Take initiative. First day of school, I can’t promise you if you will have friends immediately. So you should be the one who starts first. Join clubs and sport. You will be surprised of what you are capable! Plus you will gain some new friends.
Last but not least, spend a lot of time with your host family. Remember, they are the ones who open their home and heart for you. You can’t ever thank them enough, but spending time and bonding with them is probably the best payment you could give.
I wish you a very good luck and have a great exchange year!
Learn more about opportunities for cultural exchange with Academic Year in America.