Every fall, hundreds of international high school students arrive in the United States for an exchange year through Academic Year in America (AYA). Flying across the world and finally arriving here in the U.S. is an exciting time for these exchange students, who can’t wait to begin their American adventure!
Maja, an AYA exchange student from Germany, reflects on her recent arrival experience:
My name is Maja, from Berlin, Germany. My dream has come true; I am in the USA. Now I will be living for the next ten months in Longmont, Colorado. My first stop was in New York City! That was also a dream for me. I was with AYA and the other exchange students at the World Trade Center and we saw the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges! New York is beautiful and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or the sun is shining.
The people from AYA were friendly and helpful. Also we had workshops that prepared us for the year abroad. On the second day, we got back to the hotel at 10 pm and we got sweets from AYA. That was really new for Germans, as we don’t get sweets in the evening. We only stayed for two days in NYC. On Friday we flew to our final destinations to meet our host families. We were so excited!
I am in a single placement. I live with Tara (61) in Longmont. She has a little house and has two cats and one dog. The dog is called Schnitzel. YES, he is a German dog and also understands German. He is very cute but sometimes a little diva!
Tara gave me and another boy a warm welcome at the airport. Over the next few days we had a lot to organize. I am telling you, organizing a credit card and withdrawing money is just stressful. But Tara knew what to do and helped me. She also has very helpful friends! People here are friendly and polite.
Tara is a music teacher and her voice is wonderful! She plays gigs in homes for people with Alzheimer´s disease. The music helps people remember their past and it is wonderful to watch. She tells me lots of her stories and I really like to listen to them.
I must say that it is hard at the start because you really want to write to your friends, but you also know it is bad for you because you get homesick. I had jetlag and now I am sick. It is not so nice, because I am tired all the time.”
As Maja has discovered, traveling is full of ups and downs! We’re glad that she has arrived to her host family safe and sound, and we’re sure that the coming weeks and months will be filled with new experiences and memorable moments.
Welcome to the U.S., Maja!
Are you interested in helping international exchange students like Maja make their dreams a reality?