The holiday season is upon us. For AYA exchange participants, this is a prime time for new experiences that are both meaningful and a whole lot of fun. When we share each other’s traditions at these times, we build stronger connections and can learn so much. We are able to try new foods, new experiences and enjoy each other’s company—while making memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Over the next few months, so many regional, national, cultural and religious holiday events provide plentiful opportunities for exchange between students, host families and their local communities. One way to get more involved in the exchange experience, and really appreciate the value of our various traditions, is to volunteer in your local community. When you combine the excitement of a holiday full of cultural exchange and helping others, you often receive even more than you give.
Last fall, Sweta was an AYA high school exchange student from India living in Kansas. She shared the following about trick or treating and volunteering as part of her first Halloween experience:
First I volunteered at our Rossville Community’s haunted house. I wore a creepy mask and set under a table and scared the people coming inside the room. When they first entered, I was a statue and when they came closer to me, I screamed and scared them. It was so much fun.
After that, I went trick or treating with my friends around the town and I got a lot of candies. I dressed up as a haunted Minnie mouse. I was unable to find those mouse ears though! But I really, really enjoyed my first Halloween.
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity of exploring a new culture.
Opportunities to volunteer are limited only by your imagination. Ask around where you live to find something you’ll enjoy doing to provide a helping hand. You may volunteer for something fun; you may volunteer to help others struggling at a time when it seems like everyone is celebrating. Whatever you do, from festivals to food drives, you’ll be sharing goodwill and new traditions, and that is something special.
Learn how you can host a great student like Sweta with Academic Year in America.