News Category: Breaking News
By: Halyna Radchuk, Guest Writer
My name is Halyna Radchuk, I am 15 years old and I am currently living in Pleasanton. I wanted to share with you my experience as an exchange student!
When I was about 11 I dreamed to study abroad, more precisely, in the U.S. I was watching all of the American high school movies full of fun, parties, and interesting people.
All my life I was living in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. There is always something going, but I wanted something new, I was bored to walk on the same streets every day, to meet the same people, to know everything about the city I was living in. I really wanted to completely change my life, people surrounding me and I wanted to begin an adventure without my parents or close friends.
On August 2nd, 2018 I left home for a lifetime adventure. Frankly talking, I wasn’t nervous till July 31st, when I understood that a year abroad is not a two-week camp. A year can change you, it can change the relations with the family, friends and it can change the personality. Yes, I was about to begin a new life, that I was so desperately looking for, yes it was my biggest dream and yes I was really excited. But after all, I did not realize how long a year is, how much it can change and how much I love my family. One flight Kyiv-San Francisco was long enough to think about it all, so I was really overwhelmed by the time I arrived.
But here I am! Already 7 months in the United States in the small, but charming town of Pleasanton. Days are passing by much faster here, and I have a lot of things to explore. I am going to Foothill High School, with more than 2000 people, which is a big shock for a girl, who went to a 300 people school all her life!
My host family and I live not far away from downtown Pleasanton, so I can take the bicycle at any time and go there! My new friends from school showed me all the fun places in Pleasanton, mainly where we can eat!
Pleasanton is really different from Kyiv. Kyiv, where I used to live at, is a big vibrant city and there is always something going on. Pleasanton, on the other hand, is small, so if there are no events organized by the town, it can be just a little boring. The big positive aspect I noticed about Pleasanton, is that people know each other and are really nice to you. Everybody’s smiling, asking where I am from, once they hear my accent, and ask how I like it in here. People are definitely really much more open, and it makes the whole experience easier.
School is really different as well. Of course, as I mentioned before, there is much more people, but also much more possibilities about what you want to learn. For example classes like African-American Literature, Marketing or Culinary are actually really interesting, and something I would want to have in Europe. Another thing I was surprised by, is the amount of time we use our computers, Chromebooks, and other devices. I used to write everything on the paper with a pen, to write my homework in an actual agenda and to turn in the homework to the teacher and not in the Google Classroom. Here, there are so many possible apps to use when it comes to education, which is a great thing for the future!
The exchange program is an amazing opportunity for kids and I would highly encourage all students to try it out! When you think about the exchange, you only think about the language barrier. In reality, there are new challenges every single day. You start to deal with bigger problems and you definitely become more organized, more open in communication and more mature. You experience homesickness and stress, but you also begin to live as in a constant adventure. Yes, it is definitely hard and challenging, but the most important thing is that it is also the best decision you can make in High School. You will never forget how many things you realized and learned. During this time you become a completely different person – your goals and perspectives in life change, you start to appreciate what you had, have and can do. You realize the importance of some people and understand that others will be in your life during a short period of time.I discovered a lot during these 7 months, and I definitely still have a lot more to learn!
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