桃園市立大園國際高中 江晨瑋It was the ﬁrst time I went on a plane on my own; the ﬁrst time I left my family, friends, and all things I was familiar so far far behind. In this one-year journey to America, I had lots of “ﬁrst times”, and that was not even a quarter of it. I got to try my ﬁrst Mac&Cheese, my ﬁrst dance, my ﬁrst snow, ﬁrst ice hockey game… tons and tons of ﬁrst times. I’ve already tried hundreds of new things, and there’s still thousands waiting for me to experience, this is my favorite part of being a foreign exchange student! Everyday there are new things, new people, new food, sometimes even new cultural shocks, you never know what will happen next. That makes every day of my life here, in America, so exuberant and precious! Believe it or not, I was such a clingy and needy girl which I had never thought I would ever be an foreign exchange student someday. Of course, I spent the ﬁrst two weeks here crying and missing home. The very ﬁrst thing I learned is to be strong and ”smile”. When you keep a smile on your face, it will always come back to you. Although it was sohard at ﬁrst to ﬁght back the feeling of homesick, but then I found out that when I smile to others, their smiles could always warm my heart and made me forget about the unhappiness. After all, my smile was no longer the unnatural-forcing smile, it became the ones which came out from the bottom of my heart, and now I bring it with me wherever I go. There was another thing I had never thought of happening. I love my school life here! It started from my ﬁrst day of school, and until now I still get excited to go to school. When I walked into the school on myﬁrst day, I saw students and teachers were laughing, chatting, and greeting each others in the hall. I was surprised at ﬁrst for not seeing a single stressed face, the whole school was vibrant. After the ﬁrst week of school, my thoughts about ”school” were totally subverted. Our education system back in Taiwan focuses a lot more in studying and competing with one another. Not saying there is no study and competition here, it is just in an entirely different way. In Well spring High School, I started to learn by real practicing, and absorb all by experiencing, instead of only from piles and piles of textbooks and test sheets. Through seeing, touching, and doing experiments, I found out I learn a lot more then just from those words and sentences. Learning is a fun thing here! In my past few years in school, there was always parents and teachers pushing me to study hard and get good grades, everyone was competitive. After being here in America, I realized that we study not just for other’s expectations or any pressure, all efforts are aimed to ourselves. That gave me the strength to want to learn and improve more. I never knew I was missing out so much of a high-school-student life! Dances, sports, spirit days, snow days… I got to experience all of them! I will always cherish every moment here as an American. The most precious part of my life in America is that I got to know all my lovely friends and a host family which loves me like a real family member. I feel so blessed to experience all there wonderful things, and really feeling the sense of belonging here! I will never forget them, the school, the snow, and every tiny little things that happened in this long, amazing journey. I love my American life!