In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we asked our participants to share why they love being an international exchange student with AYA!
Check out these incredibly powerful responses from exchange students from around the world who are hosted across the United States:
Nomun from Mongolia, a FLEX program exchange student hosted in South Carolina:
“My name is Nomun and I am from Mongolia. I am a student with AYA and I absolutely love it! My number one reason why I love being a student with AYA is because I got a chance to meet and make a lot of friends from different countries during the mid-year orientation, that definitely was a highlight of my exchange year. The second reason is I how AYA checks up on every student and make sure that they are happy and having a great time. All the Local Coordinators are very caring and they help us solve our problems very quickly. Thank you AYA for making my exchange year the best year of my life.”
Adama from Senegal, a YES Program exchange student hosted in New Jersey:
“First of all, I believe I’m so lucky to be an AYA student because I feel like the way they support their students throughout their exchange year is unique. Before I come in the US, an alumni asked me my placement organization and when I told him that it was AYA, he let me know that it was an awesome one and that I’ll like it. So since then, I had been looking for that awesomeness and now I truly found it. They have wonderful, sweet, and awesome Local Coordinators. They send surveys to their students every month to ask about their experiences, their problems if they have any. I also get emails every time there is an opportunity that I can participate in in order to make my exchange year more memorable. Personally speaking, my most enjoyable moment so far with AYA was its [mid-year] orientation in California, that was incredible. I met wonderful people and spent with them an unforgettable time. Well, it would take me several days to talk about AYA, so that was what I had to say among many other important things. AYA forever.”
Matthea from Germany, hosted in Alabama:
“I love being a part of AYA because we are so many people from all over the world who go to places all over the world. They found the perfect host family for me, where I felt welcomed from second one. They show me so many things already and I try to share as may things as possible too. Not only them, but their families (grandparents etc.) welcome me too and treat me like I’m a part of their family.
The way they prepared me is incredible. I can just take their booklet, where I did not think I would find any support in, and I will find something that supports me in a way — like that it’s normal that you don’t find friends immediately. That’s just an example though. I can talk to my host parents about everything and I have amazing friends now. All in all, I am happy that I decided AYA to help me fulfill my goal and visit the US!
Thank you so much, and who ever reads this, being an exchange student is one of the best deductions you can make!!!”
Tanja from Germany, hosted in North Carolina:
“I love to be an AYA student because of all the opportunities that are given to me. I can collect so many experience and memories… I’m so thankful for [my host family] having me. Also I learn a lot from all the different people and cultures in my school which is really interesting.”
Aniket from India, a YES Program exchange student hosted in Illinois:
“For me, AYA is like a big family. The staff members are very friendly and helpful. The mid-term orientation [for YES/FLEX students] in California which was organized by AYA was an unforgettable moment of my life. In just a couple of days, all the exchange students and staff members built such good relationship that we are no less than a big global family.”
Denis from Kenya, a YES Program exchange student hosted in Nebraska:
“It is just a miracle to have found such a thing. AYA gives you this platform to meet different people from all over the globe making it so magical. I also love the Local Coordinators, they are very helpful. My Coordinator is one my favorite people.”
Najamee from Thailand, hosted in New York:
“The reason that I loved being an AYA student because of AYA always support and encourage students. Also I loved how you support us to visit the important places in the USA while here, such as California, Florida, and NYC. Moreover, AYA has the best LC and the best host families that could make someone’s exchange year to be unforgettable and amazing.”
Karim from Tanzania, a YES Program exchange student hosted in Oregon:
“I love being a AYA student because it gave us chances to meet different people from different parts of the world. It helped us know more about people’s cultures and traditions and their countries. It helped us to see different features in in the United states. It helped us to gain knowledge on solving and dealing with problems in our lives and build us mentality on dealing with our expectations about having things in our lives. It helped us to solve the stereotype between countries and knowing more about those countries. It gave us chances to make new friends all over the world. It gave us techniques on solving the problems in our communities. It also emphasized us on helping others and improved us in different ways like our confidence and improve our English language.”
Beyza from Turkey, a YES Program exchange student hosted in New York:
“I’m a student with AYA who experienced all good memories. I remember my feelings when I was in my home country. I was really happy but in the same time, little bit stressful too. Because the major problem was I felt like ‘I will be alone in different country, if I don’t make friends and staying alone what will I do?’ But of course I’m not. I have a lot of friends in my host country, also from all over the world! How did I make friends from different countries? Of course with AYA mid-year orientation and meeting with other exchange students in my town!
AYA mid-year orientation was amazing! Playing games, learning different cultures/personalities and sharing your country! Still I’m talking with my friends which feels not alone. And I’m having fun with my local friends too. I’m learning their culture (everything about them) and I’m sharing my culture.
Of course I didn’t experienced everything perfect. I had problems too. But AYA members helped me a lot. I opened my all feelings for them. Now with my new host family, I’m experienced new things and sharing my culture! These experienced helped to explore myself and improve my ideas. I will use these experiences to break stereotypes about USA and wrong information which is the other part of being an exchange student. That was my best year and I will not forget these experiences.
Thanks for AYA, my amazing host family and my all friends!”
Isadora from Brazil, hosted in Arizona:
“My host family became my second family. We have a special relationship and I know I can count on them for everything. We are always making jokes, going out to different places and having so much fun. they make me feel like home and they have been giving me so many good experiences. I am sure I will never forget them.”
Anna from Germany, hosted in Wisconsin:
“My family are the sweetest persons I’ve ever known. They get along perfectly with my parents in Germany and the bond between us is so strong. My [host] mom is the most caring person I know. She is always there for me and she is truly my mom in every way. My [host] dad has such a good humor. He lets me know how much he loves me and I have the best time when I am with him. And I could never imagine a life without my [host] siblings. They make the time here so special for me and I know that we will always stay in contact. I love my family so so much and I couldn’t be more thankful!!”