(Tiffany from Hong Kong Studying in Texas)
We have so many truly amazing and talented young students at Aspect Foundation, but certain students really stand out from the pack. Today, we are putting the spotlight on a standout student who has been making the most of her exchange year, Tiffany from Hong Kong! Tiffany is studying in Texas with the Castaneda family, and we asked her several questions about her exchange year so far. Find out what she had to say below!
Tell us a little bit about your first days in America!
Although I didn’t know anything about America when I arrived, my host family helped me a lot. Airport, lifestyle, people are all so different from where I used to be. It’s kind of a nervous feeling on the first day but I still loved it so much. I went to the grocery store on the first day and it was huge and I loved it so much.
Did your host family meet you at the airport?
Yes, they did. They made me a welcome sign and it had my name on it. It was super cute!
How did you feel when you first saw your host family?
I felt so warm and they made me feel so comfortable because they had big smiles on their faces and gave me hugs and my host siblings are so adorable.
Thinking back to the beginning of the year, what is one memory that really stands out in your mind?
It probably would be the first day of school. The school that I go to has lots of students and it’s a big school. I knew none of them and I was so glad and surprised that all the students that I met there were super nice.
(Tiffany being welcomed to the States by her host family in Texas)
What’s is it like having three younger siblings for a year?
I am so glad that I can stay with them this year, as I always wanted to have a younger sibling at home. They are just like the sour candy, sometimes is so sweet, sometimes is little naughty, but the sweet part always cover the sour part! They treat me like a big sister and I love them so much.
How did it make you feel to have sisters for the first time?
I was so happy when I first knew it because I dream of doing their hair, taking care of them since I was younger.
Do you have any special memories of your host siblings?
Yes, I do. I remember we went to the beach and I didn’t plan to go into the sea and get wet, and then my host sister used the cutest face in the world and said, “I want you to come with me.” And I went in with her and her friends, they were all so cute.
(Tiffany and her host siblings)
Did you have a chance to go to Homecoming this year?
I did! I went to homecoming in a big group with a limo. That was so fun, even though it made me really tired after. I really enjoyed the dressed up part the most!
(Tiffany at her Homecoming this past fall)
That 80’s party you went to looks like it was a lot of fun! Tell us a little bit about that night!
We dressed up like the 80’s and did 80’s hairstyles. My host mum asked me to wear pink leggings but I ended up with no pink leggings. I think the outfit on that day was the brightest color that I ever wore. They played lots of 80’s songs and it was fun!
Who threw the party?
That was my host parents’ friend’s birthday party and it was held on a farm.
Did your host mom really do a split while pregnant!?
Yes, she did and all my friends were so surprised!
What was your favorite part from this night?
Actually, the dress up part was my favorite part.
(Tiffany and her host family at the 80’s party)
Tell us about your Arizona trip!
I went to Arizona over Christmas with my host family and it was the best memories in the year. That was a long drive, which was about 14 hours from Houston to Arizona, but it was really worth it. I was so happy that I got to see my host dad’s and mum’s family, they are really nice and made me feel loved. Also, my siblings’ cousins are so nice and cute too! They were willing to play with me. We went to Show Low, AZ to see the snow. That was the first time in my life seeing snow! I was super excited about that. I got a chance to live in a cabin for few days, playing games with my host family and host cousins. It was so fun, I miss it so much. My host family brought me to Kneaders Bakery which has the best french toast and frozen chocolate. Also, they brought me to Burger House to have the best green chili burrito and it was so yummy. That was the best experience in the year!
(Tiffany spending Christmas in AZ with her host family)
San Antonio looks like it was a lot of fun! What did you do while you were there?
We went to the Sea World and the Alamo. We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and my host dad asked me to order Mole Pollo Enchiladas and I didn’t know what that was and I only saw the word “Pollo,” which means chicken, so I said yes and he ordered for me. After he ordered, he told me that Mole is made with chocolate sauce and I was shocked, but finally I tried it and it was so delicious.
How did you like visiting the Alamo?
It is a historical building and even though I am not really into history, it was still good and cool to visit.
What was Woodland like?
Woodland is a place that’s 40 minutes from Cypress and there is a huge shopping mall. We spent so much time in there but still haven’t finished shopping in the whole mall. I think we only shopped for ¼ of the mall.
What did you do while you were there?
I went to the Woodland mall and the Market Street and to a car show with my friend who is from Spain and her host mum. We shopped a lot and had Spanish food for dinner. We also went to the movie theatre to watch a movie.
In your opinion, what was the best part of your trip to Woodland?
I guess it would be the Market Street because it was so pretty there and also we stayed a night in the hotel and I talked a lot with my friend and played, it’s super fun!
Of the these three cities, which one did you like the best and why?
I liked Arizona the most because I got to meet all their family and see the snow for the first time!
(Tiffany visiting the Alamo and Woodland, TX with her new best friend Elena from Spain)
Now that you are over halfway through your exchange year, we want to know if you have any advice for students or host families!
For students, I think the most important thing is that you need to treat your host family as your real family at home.
What advice would you give to another student who is thinking about studying abroad in America?
This will be a really good experience. You will get to learn new cultures and lots of fun stuff. And you can meet many people from all over the world. Like my best friend is Elena who is from Spain.
What advice would you give to an exchange student when trying new things?
Don’t be scared to try new things, you should step out from your comfort zone and explore the world. This will help you to grow and become a person with more personality. You won’t know if you don’t try. Whatever the result, good or bad, at least you tried it and you will not regret it.
We want to give you a chance to share any experiences or thoughts you have with our community!
The family, the friends, the school, the people here make me feel so much love and they are usually energetic and full of passion which makes me stay positive all the time.
Is there anything else you would like to say today?
I really want to thank my host family for choosing me to be their exchange student. They gave me lots of love and the best experience. They treat me so well and I am so glad that they are always so nice to me. They taught me lots of things that I didn’t know before and I am so happy that they gave me a wonderful home and great experience here. They will always be my most important people in my life and nothing can replace them because they are the best.
Do you know a standout student that you would like to see featured? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.