We are honored to have so many stellar students in our program every year – they are the reason we do what we do! This month, we would like to introduce Kasia from Poland, who has enriched her host community in Idaho with her zest for life and contagious positive attitude. Congratulations, Kasia, and thank you for being so stellar!
We’ll start off with an easy question…what is your favorite American food? My host mom makes the best tacos ever! Her tacos are just amazing, every single time we have them for dinner I’m so happy because it’s so good.
What surprised you most when you came to the U.S.? I visited America two years ago to see family that lives here, so I already knew that people are super friendly and nice here. But I think what surprised me the most was that American high school looks like it does in the movies. I had my first day at school and was like, “Wow, it’s like in the movies!” Like High School Musical every single day and I just love it.
I would also say that people are really open and friendly. They will ask you how is your day going, and will ask me different things about Poland and what it is like there. Another surprising thing at school is that teachers are super nice and I can talk with them about anything, they are more like my friends than my teachers!
Tell me more about your host family! My host family is the best host family ever! I have five host brothers and they are so sweet. My host mom, Carrie… I love her, she is my best friend! I’m going to cry when it’s time to go home because I love having so many siblings, they are so much fun and I have the best family ever. Truly I cannot even think about living with a different host family during this year. They became my second family and I love them to the moon and back.
What are some of your favorite memories you’ve made with your host family? The coolest memories we made…we went camping when I got here in August, it was my first time and I fished for the first time in my life, which was such an amazing memory for me…so much fun. I hope that we can go again.
We also went to Hawaii in December! I turned 18 years old in Hawaii and it was the best birthday, just a dream come true. I still can’t believe I went there because it was beautiful. I have so many beautiful memories and I can’t believe I’m going home in two months…I’m so happy I came here and it was the best decision of my life.
Kasia in Hawaii (left) and with her host family and NWSE alumni Theo (right)
You have been doing so well in school. Do you have any advice to give other exchange students about how to excel in school? Since teachers are amazing, just go and ask about anything. Sometimes they just don’t know if you need help with something so they won’t ask you, but ask and they will help you. Right now I don’t have any struggles, but the first month of school the school system was so new for me. Don’t be scared, and ask questions about anything, because this is the only way that you can learn something new. I love going to school here it’s amazing, and I made so many great friends, I love it so much!
Your English is amazing, so fluent! What’s been something that’s really helped you learn English?I love music, and most of the songs that I listen to are in English, and also before I came here I started watching American movies in English, with Polish subtitles…besides normal things you learn at school, I’d say that listening to music and watching American movies in English with subtitles were really helpful!
Speaking of music…you’re in choir, right? Yes, and it’s so much fun! I was in treble choir first semester but got moved second semester for the more advanced choir and I love it so much. I’ve made so many great friends there and they were super welcoming. We had our spring concert and we also went to a choir festival with schools all over the area. We did pretty well!
The thing I like here the most is that there are so many things that you can do at school, and it’s not only about math and English and history… There’s also so many other things that just make your life more happy and more fun. For second semester, our theater teacher asked me if I’d like to participate as stage director for the school play. It was new for me but it was so much fun. Tomorrow we have opening night. It’s Frankenstein, and we’ve been working for the past two months. My cast was just amazing and so nice, and I’m so excited to see how it’s going to go.
In what ways has your exchange prepared you for your future? I think the exchange here is not only about learning new things about different countries or different people, but I learned a lot about myself and what I can do. I can truly say that I am so proud of myself that I did it. The thought of going to a different country for a year and having a different life and a different family sounds scary, but it’s an amazing experience. I have no words for that, and I’m so happy that I did it.
I think my parents are really proud of me that I’m doing so well. Whenever we talk, they’re like, “Wow, how are you so happy! You seem like you are doing so well!” I met so many great people, and hopefully I’m going to stay friends with them for a lifetime. This exchange changed my life in so many different ways.
I would love to come back! Maybe in two years for university! I would love to study here in America. Hopefully after a few years of studying in Europe, I can come here, because I love America so much.
This year also showed me that I just need to be happy with everything I have in life. Our attitude is the most important thing, how we react to different things. People always ask, “How are you so happy? Don’t you miss your home?” And of course I miss my home, but I just need to remember that I’m only here for one year and it’s my dream, so I’m trying to do as much as I can.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming foreign exchange student? I would tell them to never say no, because this is only one year and you may not have a second chance to do something. Just experience as much as possible. Never be scared and have fun! Be happy and enjoy this beautiful year. I love quotes, and one of favorite quotes is “don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened.” I guess it’s the price that we have to pay for having an amazing year here. Of course there are some moments when you miss your town and family, but by the end of the year, you’re going to be the happiest person on the earth that you did it and that you made your biggest dream come true! This was my biggest dream, and I’m so happy that I had a great time.