My Experience in the U.S.A

Linhchi Bui, Reporter

“It’s not a trip or vacation, it’s a second life.”

My name is Linn. I’m a 16-year-old exchange student from Germany. I’m a junior. In Germany, I live in a small town called Vechta with my parents and my two siblings. In my free time, I play basketball and dance hip-hop. I attend an All-Girls private school there.

I have always dreamed of going to America, being at an American high school, and living the American way of life. I like watching American movies, and I’ve often wondered how reality compares to the movies.

When I flew to America one month ago I could have never imagined that I would be so fond of this place and that people who were strangers to me, in the beginning, would mean so much to me later on. Before I left Germany, my friends told me, to “stay just as you are,” but how can I not change myself in a foreign country? Starting new at a foreign school? Being a part of foreign family? Of course, I am still me, but somehow I have become a new person through my experiences. Let’s start from the beginning:

In May 2018, I decided to apply for an exchange student program, Ayusa Intrax, and I received a host family after only 1 month. I was very happy, and could hardly wait to meet my host mom.
One month ago, on August 1st, it was finally time to start my journey. I had to say goodbye to my family and friends.

Before I arrived in Florida I went to New York City with many other exchange students. Everything was so much bigger and more alive. I was in utter amazement. It was beautiful, and I will never forget my time there, even though it was short.

After three wonderful days in the “city that never sleeps,” I flew to my second home in Florida. I was very excited and I can still remember my first meeting with my host mom as if it were only a week ago. I felt comfortable with her immediately, and it felt like we had known each other for more than a few minutes. We’ve already been on many adventures together like going to Ybor City, Busch Gardens, and have visited many different restaurants.

After two long weeks, school finally began. I was very nervous on my first day in an American school. I didn’t know anyone in my classes, but the open-mindedness and friendliness of the Americans helped me to feel comfortable and to make new friends quickly. The American school system is very different from the German school system. These differences include my school in Germany we have to take 13 classes with the same classmates all day long, whereas in America we only have 6 classes with different people in each class. We also don’t have multiple choice tests in Germany, and the student/teacher relationships are more friendly in the U.S., and this is only to name a few.

I also wanted to try something new, which led to me trying out for cheerleading. I was very happy when I got to the news that I had made the team. I love the girls and it’s been really fun cheering at football games.

Of course, there are ups and downs when you are all alone in a foreign country. Although there hasn’t been a time so far that I’ve felt homesick, there have been situations where I wish that my family or friends could be around me. One benefit to becoming an exchange student is that I’ve learned to be more independent.

I enjoy every single moment in the United States, and I really appreciate the opportunity to get exposed to a new culture. I’m very curious and excited about what the next four months hold.
So if you are considering applying to an exchange program or becoming a host family for an exchange student I seriously recommend it.