Government sponsored students are required to participate in a Mid-Year Orientation and AYA is pleased to be able to offer our students the opportunity to attend a group orientation. The AYA Mid-Year Orientation provides invaluable cultural education and student support during the midpoint of the student’s program by incorporating educational lessons, exercises and workshops in a great team atmosphere and an incredible setting.
The purpose of the Mid-Year Orientation is to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their experience on the program mid-way through the year and critically think about the goals they would like to achieve during the second semester. Please enjoy these reflections from some of the individuals who attended:
Kisla from Albania, hosted in South Carolina:
Hello! Mid-year Orientation was such a unique experience. It was absolutely amazing to be part of the harmony created by all the young citizens of the world; all of them from different cultures and countries being part of one big and united group, working together to achieve goals.
I was part of group seven. The most memorable activity for me would have to be the one where we had to balance the wood piece we were standing on. It made me realize that no matter our differences, if we all work together respecting and listening to each other, complicated and hard things like this were possible. Also, we broke the record of keeping the platform balanced for 6 minutes and 40 seconds; longer than any of the previous groups!
I feel honored to be part of this big family and amazing community. Thank you for the beautiful weekend and for this wonderful opportunity.
Ysmael from the Philippines, hosted in Ohio:
The orientation was very helpful. It helped me review what happened on my exchange. I learned to appreciate my exchange year more. It taught me lessons that made me more confident and contented. I will never forget the moment where we are doing the rope course. I did like it. It’s fun and my coordinator did it too so that adds more fun again.
Zhamshidbek from Kazakhstan, hosted in Idaho:
I want to say the mid year orientation helped a lot, also gave more energy for rest of the year. During the orientation I could open up my soul to other exchange students who became my friend, LC, AYA staff members.
Now I have a mission built for rest of the year and rest of my life, which is being excellent leader and representative of our (my) country Kazakhstan, also help to people who need my or as well our help. I set aim for coming 5 years, which is building a charity team, may be company to make our society (the world’s society) great.
I wanna say thank you for all AYA Organization and FLEX program for accepting me as a exchange student, for giving me chance to build my future and show my ability. This times are unforgettable, filled with great experience.
I learnt a lot during the orientation, but the most important thing that I learnt was being able to listen to each other in critical situations. I have learnt that before but don’t remember when I had had to listen to others. Being able to listen to others always effective and efficient and in that way we can solve the problem.
Love you guys! Jako!
Margaret, Local Coordinator in West Virginia:
It was an amazing experience to just be part of what the kids are, who they are. How they all came together from different cultures, beliefs, languages and they used that to work as a team and achieve goal after goal of team building exercises. There were a few stronger leaders but, unlike what I have seen in the past with of one or two doing all the work, everyone listened to everyone. Even when the less outspoken kids were to speak up, they all listened. It was more than what I could have imagined. It was truly and honor to be part of that experience. Thank you AYA staff for the opportunity. If only the world could witness this unity.
Megi from the Republic of Georgia, hosted in Ohio:
Mid-year was one of the best experiences in the USA. People who I met. They will be part of my heart forever. I grew up in few days. Made new goals for second semester, and I will do everything to make them come true. On talent show, we actually had a chance to see the culture of a lot of different countries. We felt each other’s feeling and we’re supporting each other. Those 4 days were great and I will never forget them.
Ecem from Turkey, hosted in Illinois:
Mid-Year Orientation was one of the best experiences and moments of my exchange year. I believe that it was exactly the right time for us to see other exchangers and share our observations so far. It helped us a lot, it helped us to understand how similar experiences and high-up-points we have, showed how near our personalities and problems are and supported us by realizing that we are not alone and we are pretty much in the same expectation points of our year! It was the unforgettable taste of understanding each other and being one from all different. We learned and improved our leadership & communication skills all together, with respect. It was all the weekend that we showed, we are all same from all around the world, no matter our religion, skin color, ethnicity, etc. All that matters is nothing but you and your ideas! Thank you YES/FLEX Program and AYA for giving us this opportunity!
Inspired by these students’ stories and reflections? Consider hosting an exchange student! Learn more at academicyear.org.