Life in the U.S. / Thank You Thursdays

Thank You Thursday – 2021/22 End-of-Year Edition

With the current school year drawing to a close, the 2021/22 Aspect students are returning to their home countries one by one. As the students are saying goodbye to their American families and friends we are sharing some of their heartfelt thank you notes for this week’s Thank You Thursday.

Mahamud (gray sweater) and other exchange students helping out in the food pantry for Global Youth Service Day

I dedicate this letter to my host community. It has been quite an amazing year and also challenging because leaving home for me wasn’t that easy. But I still felt more like home which I would first give my thanks to my host family because they made me feel much like their actual family member. I tried bunch of fun new activities together with them that I really enjoyed. And I’ll also thank the few friends I made at school which made my exchange year memorable. Lastly, I wouldn’t have done it without the help from my teachers and the other staff members at Onalaska High School. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

– Mahamud from Nigeria staying with the Gonzalez family in Washington as part of the 2021/22 Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

(left) Luiz being welcomed by his host family (center) Luiz (top row wearing a striped jersey) and the other exchange students in his group with their coordinator, Kathy (bottom row center) (right) Luiz’ host brother, Mattia from Italy (left), fellow exchange student Igor from Spain (center), and Luiz (right) celebrating their team’s win at Sectionals

First, I want to thank my host family for giving me the opportunity to live in this country for 10 months. I won’t forget anything they did for me and my Italian brother. Second, I want to thank everybody I met at school. Thank you to the principal, vice-principals, teachers, counselors and everybody else. To my soccer teammates, that took me in since day 1 and made me feel like I really belonged in the team. I already miss playing soccer with you all, and let’s go Weir, onto States this year. Also thank you to all the other exchange students, especially my brother, who made this year even better. Thank you to the exchange coordinator, Kathy, who took us many places and really cared for us. Lastly, I’m thankful for the American people, who were respectful and interested in my culture. West Virginia will always be with me. Thank you, USA.

– Luiz from Brazil staying with the Wesie family in West Virginia

(from left to right) Elena from Spain, Lucia from Spain, Adita from Indonesia, their coordinator, Jodi, and Sofie from Germany visiting Seattle’s Gum Wall

My exchanged year was amazing! It was such a cool experience that I highly recommend. It helps you learn about yourself in the best of ways and it makes you grow up. Thank you so much for taking the time, the energy and the patience to host me as a student. This has been and amazing experience and I am very grateful for this time that we have spent together. The love and kindness that you guys have showed me is unbelievable and amazing. Thank you for showing me and letting me grow in a safe space. Thank you for all the adventures and fun days, thank you for everything. These have been the best 10 months of my life and just know that we will be seeing each other again. 

– Lucia from Spain staying with the Lambert family in Washington

(top left) Zainab being carried by her theater crew (top right) Zainab and her host parents at Christmas (bottom left) Zainab as prom queen with her king (bottom right) Zainab giving a presentation about her home country, Pakistan, during International Education Week

When I first got to know that I was getting placed in Owen-Withee, WI, I didn’t have much expectation to be honest. I was a little disappointed on how I couldn’t even find it on Google because it was such a small town but I remember my father telling me how I could have been placed in a really big city but the people wouldn’t be nice there and that I should be grateful for everything. Now that I think back he was right because I’ve met so many people here that are the sweetest and the most amazing people I could ever meet. I am really thankful for my host family for taking me in and making me feel at home. I don’t think there were ever a moment where I felt like I was a guest or felt like they weren’t my real parents. They helped me a lot during my tough times and were always supportive of everything I did. For my high school, I would like to thank every single person because they made my year here so memorable! And I always joke with them that I would forget them but that’s a lie, I probably will remember every single person till I come back to visit one day again. In the end, I’m really grateful for every single person here. My family, friends and teachers at school and the local newspaper and I hope that future foreign exchange students have the same amazing experience like I had in O-W..

– Zainab from Pakistan staying with the Busse/Leonard family in Wisconsin as part of the 2021/22 Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

Are you interested in making a student part of your family this upcoming school year? We are still looking for wonderful American host families to welcome a student in the fall! Check out the profiles of our amazing 2022/23 students!