Life in the U.S.

2023 Arrival Photo and Video Contest Winners!

Few moments compare to the excited, anxious, joyful feeling of when our exchange students step off the plane and meet the people they’ll begin to call family! Being welcomed by warm, heartfelt and even silly signs eases the tension and allows the first words and hugs to be exchanged. Even after hours of travel, those initial smiles waiting for you in the airport make the long journey well worth the wait!

We received so many fantastic, creative entries this year! The votes are now in and we have several winners to announce! First up, the photo that received the most votes is:

Amelia from Spain and her host family, the Wolfes, in Oregon! Brenda, her host mom, says it’s, “Amelia’s American dream!”

And up next, the fantastic photo that won second place is:

Ismael from Spain, with the Schoonmaker family in California! Ismael’s host mom, Lindsay says, “From Madrid to California. Welcome to America, Ismael!”

And, in an exciting twist, third place ended in a tie!

Marcela from Brazil and her host family, the Ard/Higgins, in Pennsylvania! Ronald, Marcela’s host dad, says they were excited to “Welcome Marcela to the Pittsburgh!”

Leo from Brazil with the Daniel family in Texas! Leo’s host mom, Jessica, says, “We all had shirts personalized in both English and Portuguese to show Leo how excited we were for him to be a part of our family this year.”

And for the top voted video, the winner is… drumroll, please!

Mathilde from France with the Ressler family! Mathilde’s host mom, Chrystal, says she is “securing our gift for 2023-24!”

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who submitted photos and videos.  Remember these precious moments as you adventure through your year together!

Don’t stop sending us photos and videos just because the contest is over! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram, or send them via email to It may be featured in an upcoming blog post or newsletter!

** Winners will receive their prize in a few days!**