North Carolina’s state motto, Esse quam videri, means “to be, rather than to seem.” It suggests the importance of authenticity over insincerity and show. This type of “keeping it real” attitude is right at home in the world of cultural exchange. When people have the chance to meet and interact with others from a place of integrity and truth, a world of possibilities unfolds.
For example, Annina W. is an AYA student from Germany living with a host family in the state of North Carolina. She wrote the following to share her thoughts, plans and observations as we begin a new calendar year. She expresses sincere appreciation for everyone that made her exchange year possible and reflects on the midpoint of her experience:
I’m Annina W. from Germany, and I’m spending my exchange year in Asheville, North Carolina. I love it so far!! I’ve got a very nice host family. I love my school, my friends, the city and the mountains! I really enjoy the gym. It’s so fun to workout with all the nice people and to do classes together.
I’m thankful to make this experience and to see so many different things. I guess, my English improved too, which is very important for me. It’s exciting to make friendships in the USA and to see how we celebrate Christmas in America.
I also look forward for next year, when I’m going to travel to New York City and Chicago with my host mom! New York City is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. All the skyscrapers, people, diversity and the fact to be in New York City impressed me, and it will be a pleasure to visit it again.
It’s also weird, that I’m in America for four months now. The time is running, and I don’t want to leave yet. For sure, I also miss my family and friends and the times when we went to Berlin to spend some time together. But I enjoy every second I can stay in America!
Thanks to all who made it possible for me!!!
If you are interested in making high school exchange possible for a wonderful student like Annina, learn more about the different ways to get involved and show your support for international education and cultural exchange with AYA.