Our Local Coordinator Terri, from the state of New York, submitted the following acknowledgement of a student with whom she has been extremely impressed. Carolin, an exchange student from Germany, has been very involved in her school and local community since arriving in the U.S. Her willingness to help others is truly remarkable. Read on to learn about this wonderful young lady.
New York has a very special student. Her name is Carolin, and she is an international student with Academic Year in America on exchange from Germany for a year in a western New York school called Addison High School. By many standards, the school may be small, but the hearts of this community and Carolin’s host family are huge. And it just might be that Carolin landed in the exact family, school and community where she was meant to be, as it has fostered the awesome heart this young lady has within her.
Carolin arrived in August with the perfect attitude of, “sure, I’ll try that.” Her host sister is very active in drama, dance, music and voice, and she has a class each evening during the week. Carolin attended all of these classes, and decided try Ballet and Hip Hop dance. But that is not all Carolin has joined. She is working back stage for the school play. She sings in the Concert Chorus. She is a majorette in the marching band, and she is most excited about being a cheerleader. Her face just lights up when she speaks of it.
I suppose all this might just be enough, but not for Carolin. She has a 93.2 school average and during International Education Week, she gave four presentations to her peers in school. She has earned the respect of students and teachers. But now let’s get back to that big heart that I was talking about earlier.
People have told me that Carolin always has a helpful attitude and a kind smile on her face. Each year at Thanksgiving, a local grassroots organization called Act N Do, provides a Thanksgiving dinner, delivered to local homes (and some not so local) on Thanksgiving Day. This year, they provided over 550 meals, delivered to the recipients’ doors in the early afternoon.
The preparation began months earlier, and Carolin had put in many hours helping out. A picture of Carolin and her host sister, Catherine, was on the front page of the local newspaper the next day, and the story of the event was on the evening news. This month, Act N Do is preparing to give local families-in-need gifts for their children during the holiday season.
Carolin’s true character was put to the test the night of her first Choral Concert. While standing on the risers, one student felt ill and collapsed. Carolin quickly reacted, jumping down to help pull her to safety from behind the risers. No one saw anything going on, and the student encouraged Carolin to return to the group, assuring that she was okay. Caroline then returned on the risers singing, when a second student fell ill, and Carolin walked her off the stage. This time, she stayed with the girls until the administration and parents arrived to help out.
It was a very scary time for Carolin, but the parents of both girls were extremely appreciative. The principal of the school called Carolin personally that evening to thank her for her quick and selfless response in helping the other students.
To meet Carolin in person, you’d surely say, “she’s a lovely girl.” But to know Carolin is much more than that. She is a wonderful, kind and caring young woman who puts others before herself. What a terrific ambassador she is for Germany and our exchange program.
Thank you Terri, for sharing this wonderful example of AYA students making such a positive impact and meaningful connections through their exchange experience.
If you are someone with room in your heart and space in your home to host a great student like Carolin, you can count on the support and guidance of AYA and our network of fantastic Local Coordinators like Terri.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-322-4678 to learn more about your opportunities to host.