Yes, it’s that time of the month when we present you with the most honorable mention for any exchange student on the forum; student of the month. This month, we are presenting you with the student who adjusted in his host environment very easily, made new friends from such a diverse culture, was elected as the Homecoming king and much more. His name is Muhammad Umer Janjua. Read about his great experience so far in his own words.
“For me, transition from a Pakistani High school into a Private American Catholic High school was one of the
most exciting aspects of my exchange year, a journey I’ll surely cherish. Coming from where your teacher changes the classroom to where the moment the bell rings the hallways are flooded with students going to their next class, it was just one of the numerous new experiences I had. The people were very welcoming and embracing.
The day I went for registration was quite a memorable one. After we were done with the paperwork, this kind lady took us for a tour around the school. After a visiting a couple of hallways and the gym, as impatient as I am, I asked her if I could go to an actual classroom. So, we just went into a random classroom (It was my future class) and I just went in with a big smile plastered across my face and just said, “Hi Guys!”. For a moment everybody stared at me and then instantly everybody burst into laughter and all of a sudden four guys come up, introduce themselves and shake my hands. The teacher, after being successful at getting calmed down after all the laughing, asked me if I was the exchange student they were expecting and that he could already think that we were going to have a good year. Later that night I went to the football game with those four guys.
From being the Homecoming King, getting casted in the fall play, being my school’s mascot, crazy Halloween parties to celebrating Eid with friends from school, High school has definitely been a highlight of my year so far.
Many exchange students are nervous when they’re going for their first day at school but for me it was more like, “Let’s Do This!”. Dressed up in my native attire I went about the hallways, with some people looking at the weird looking foreigner with confused gestures. In all my classes I introduced myself and got acquainted with the atmosphere. During break assembly, all the school got gathered for announcements and prayer. The announcer told everybody about me and instantly I grasped the opportunity to introduce myself. I got up and introduced myself with a couple of jokes here and there with it being a light and funny introduction. The response was amazing. Everybody was thrilled and moments ago in the same hallways where nobody was paying attention to me, now everybody was like, “Hey Umer!”, “How’s it going Umer?”, “Welcome to the States Umer!”. Now everybody in school knew me but I didn’t. It took me nearly a
month to get all the names straight. I always seemed to confuse Brady and Briar though.
I also got elected as the Homecoming King as I had made friends pretty quickly. Being the Homecoming King was definitely an amazing experience and having the Homecoming Queen as your date definitely multiplies the thrill of being to a high school dance for the first time. The whole election process was very exciting and it was definitely a privilege to get elected as the Homecoming king.
I’m a Muslim, my host family’s Mormon and I attend a Catholic School. This is as diverse as it gets. It’s definitely a big learning experience for me and I’m getting acquainted with a lot of different concepts and learning a lot. Attending the mass on Friday in school and then later going for Friday prayers to the mosque and then attending Mormon Church on Sunday is definitely a part of the package.
To be short, YES is the best thing that has happened to me yet. Everybody should ‘YES’ once in their lives and the world would be so much better. (The first picture’s my senior picture too)”
Hopefully you all enjoyed his journey just as much as we did. Did you learn anything? Good if you did and if you didn’t, make sure next time you read more carefully( even the sign boards on the way to McDonalds). Feel free to share your likes , dislikes, comments, questions in the comments down below or tweet us. You can also share your unique experiences with us and send it to our email address(written down below) to get featured on “ExchangeStudentStation”
SOM’s twitter handle: @M_Umer_Janjua
Are you living in U.S as an high school exchange student? Do you want to make your year successful just like the former best exchange students? Do you want to attend all those cool/informative conferences? If yes, then my fellow you are the right place. Kudos.
A lot of students, while on exchange, have the desire to attend at least one conference. The question comes when you don’t know how to reach them, what are their names, when are they going to be, what to expect. Here below are a brief summary of major conferences that happens every year for YES/ A SMYLE/ FLEX students to enable them to learn different unique qualities.
- Civics Education Workshop (CEW):
For CEW, students get an email from American Councils around November- December. The application is sort of a survey in which they have to write an essay regarding the politics of their country, how they relate it with America and how they think to eradicate it when they go home. The selection process starts after you submit your documents. Results are announced around January and the workshop takes place in February. Workshop is all about the government, leadership qualities, visits to monuments, meetings with your state senators and how the government of America works.
- Better Understanding for Better World (BUBW), Baltimore/ Orlando, FL/ :
- Youth Summit:
- Workshop for youth leaders in teaching English (WYLTE):
- Global New Media Lab (GNML) :
GNML is an Online program consists of 10 biweekly sessions that guide you through the process of creating a social media for social change campaign. During GNML Online, you will learn how to harness the power of various social/digital media technologies to advocate for social change related to a social issue in your home community.
- YOUTH TECH CAMP:
During GNML Online workshops time, happens a TECH CAMP which is only granted to the 26 actively participating students in GNML from YES/FLEX/A SMYLE. It happens around April. This TechCamp will advance their leadership, training and public speaking skills while developing individual strategic action plans that outline how they will teach others back home how to use social media for social change.
NOTE: ALL THE STUDENTS CAN APPLY IN GNML BUT YOU CAN ONLY CHOOSE ONE BETWEEN CEW, TECHCAMP, WYLTE).
Hope it was clear, if you have any question, you can ask in the comments, email us or tweet us at @exchangeSs- we are always active. If you have a story to share, email us and tweet us that you have emailed us. Don’t forget to share, like and tap that follow button in the upper right corner. Thank you.
Let me get straight to the point and tell you how I feel. It’s been more than a month that I have been living with my host parents. First few weeks were great but now I feel as if they don’t treat me the same way they used to. They don’t smile with me all the time, they take all the work from me while their own daughter is just sitting on the couch and watching the Television. Last night they shifted my bedroom in the basement although I was much happy with the upstairs room that I shared with my host sister. I guess they don’t like me anymore. I hope their attitudes get better with time. I miss home, China. “
If some of you feel the same like this upper paragraph. Then you are all at the right place. This phase is your homesickness/cultural shock phase. With all the different things you are trying, you find ways to express yourselves. With every month passing your host family will adjust with you even more and that’s when one thinks as if they don’t like them anymore.
If they ask you to do a chore, this means they trust you enough to do it. Now they believe you are part of their family and it’s very natural to entrust you with a responsibility which their own son/daughter can’t do. Cleaning your room, washing dishes, taking the garbage out, eating the vegetables, taking the dog out for a walk, doing the laundry and not using much social media is a part of your exchange year. This maybe is quite different from your own culture but in order to be successful, get use to it.
The mentioned story in the begining is a true story of one of my friends from China and she wanted me to share this excerpt from her journals with all of you. She said, as she reads it now, these are all good memories to her and she laughs at them. Yes, you heard it right. Those were good memories. She is a successful alumna and is doing her degree from University of Massachusetts. Wait! There is one thing to unleash about her; she is living with her dearest host family.
I hope this was helpful to you.
For any question/Queries, you can comment down below or email us at Exchange_ss@hotmail.com or tweet us at @ExchangeSs.