At first, my English teacher in China asked me if I want to go to the AFS winter camp, which is for selecting exchange students across the country. At that time, I had absolutely no idea about doing abroad. What I pictured my life was to finish high school, go to a college, and get a decent job. My parents advised me that there were two choices lying in front of me. On one hand, I could ignore the exchange program and live like what everyone does, whereas on the other hand, I could try to go to a different way of living.
Finally, I was selected to be one of the sixty three exchange students who would go to the United States. Since I stepped onto the land of United States, lots of hardships have already waited to test me. The very beginning thing I had to handle was to become adapted to the American style of living, such as trying all different kinds of food, watching movies together with the family, getting up early on Christmas day morning to open presents from Santa Claus, and so on. Then, I had to get used to the life in school.
In China, we do not have the opportunity to pick courses; whereas here in the United States, I got so many classes to choose from. What was more, I had to make decisions on my own instead of asking my parents like what I normally did back home. Usually, I had to prepare a lot of work for whole night, but I never told my parents how tired and hard I felt here. I never wanted them to worry about me, which was another big difference. In China, I could tell them all my feelings, however, in America, all I could do was to bear everything on my shoulder and kept going on without hesitance.
I felt so lucky to get involved in this exchange experience, which is a really important milestone in my life because I harvested and grew up a lot from it. I got the chance to practice my oral English skills because I was the only Chinese in that town. And then, without the aid of Mom and Dad, I managed to do many things well relying on myself, which really steeled me. Instead of looking at America through TV shows, I was personally on the scene to experience American culture, especially the education system.