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High School Student Exchange Essay Contest Winner!

Ayusa Students Love Their American High Schools!

The results of Ayusa’s School Recognition Contest Are In! We received over 60 essays from Ayusa students telling us why they love their American high schools! Students nominated their favorite teachers, counselors, principals, coaches and others who have helped them along the way. Read the top 3 essays now!


Winner, Soravit from Thailand!

Soravit spent his exchange year in Clinton, Iowa at Clinton High School. He nominated his favorite teacher, Ms. Brenda Rasche for this award.

Ms. Rasche is my favorite teacher. When I ran into some problems and I didn’t know how to fix them, she would always help me honestly. She doesn’t think that her students are just students but she thinks of them just like her own sons and daughters. She loves us like her own kids. Also she does her job as best as she can to make it the best experience possible for all of the students in class.

I love to cook food very much and also I was very excited to learn about how to cook American food. First I thought that American food was only junk foods like hamburgers, fries, pizzas and etc. but Ms. Rasche helped me to understand that there are thousands of kinds of food that I didn’t know. She taught me many things about how to cook and to select the best ingredients. Also she was interested in my culture’s food. So, we shared our knowledge together.

Ms. Rasche is one of the most important teachers in my life. She loves me like her own child. When I have some problems, even personal problems, I always tell her and she has always helped me to figure it out. When I was in her class, I had a lot of fun. All my friends in this class liked her too. It’s just like she makes us feel like this class is a little family, not just the class where you come and study.

The first day at school I thought that everybody would not pay attention to me because I am foreign exchange student, because I am different. But my thoughts were all wrong, everybody here was very friendly and nice to me. It made me feel very happy. Especially Ms. Rasche, I felt that she took a special interest in me to make sure that I fit in with the class and in the school!! She helped me as much as she can and always talked to me very nicely. Sometimes she made me feel like she was my second mother.


Runner Up, Sahar from Pakistan

High School: Sandy High in Sandy, Oregon
Nominating: Ms. Kaldahl, Teacher

A girl first came here five months before, like typical Middle Eastern girl, had lots of cultural shocks. Things were hard and difficult for her. Being alone in her community as a Muslim, as a Middle Easterner, as a Pakistani. Things were difficult to manage for her. She was a religious girl but now no school provides time to pray or off earlier at Friday to let you pray. That was affecting her alot. Struggling with the environment, new family and friend, she was feeling there no God now to be with her as she is missing her prayers these days. She started being quiet, no fun, upset and and lost in some thoughts all the time. But then her teacher Mrs. Kaldahl helped her out after listening to her problem and tried her best to find her a place in lunch time to pray. It was really hard for her to find a quiet place at lunch time, and she almost became unsuccessful but she never lost hope. She was firm to help that little girl out. And finally when nothing worked the teacher offered her own room at lunch time to pray.

Mrs. Kaldahl would lock the room when I am praying and no one will come in and she would find some other place to eat lunch. That was amazing for me. If anyone else would have known they must have been amazed, but Mrs. Kaldahl didn’t care. I want to nominate her because she was the one that helped me out, helped me be close to my religion. She was the one who made me feel that I am in my own homeland and nothing is different here. She is the one who proved that media was always wrong saying that “Americans hate Muslims.” I LOVE HER and want to dedicate my essay to her because she is an American who did the most helpful thing for a Muslim student in the U.S. ever. MAY GOD BLESS HER.

I was unable to concentrate, speak or mingle with people, always lost in my thoughts in the beginning of the year. I would not have come out of it if she wouldn’t have helped me in my submission to God. I couldn’t me more thankful to anyone this much in my life again…

I want to tell her that she is most important for me here because she gave me way to do my most important thing. And not only this but she was always there for me whenever I did a presentation and tell me stuff after and say “see, people actually listen to your presentations.” She raised my confidence to much more extent and another great thing she is doing is helping me to figure out ideas about helping people in my country and to make a connection between these two countries. This was my goal for being here and she is the person helping me and always giving me suggestions towards accomplishment of my goal. She is motivating me a lot. I’m really thankful to her. I simply want to say I HAVE NO WORDS TO TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT YOU HAVE BEEN FOR ME. I LOVE YOU.

Thanks to ask for this essay and give me this opportunity to give Mrs. Kaldahl my tribute and my hats off to her. I would not have found such a great opportunity to give her my thanks other than this. THANKS Ayusa!


Runner Up, Giorgi from Georgia

High School: Western Guilford High in
Greensboro, North Carolina
Nominating: Mrs. Wilson, Teacher

The person I’m nominating is my Spanish teacher Mrs. Sarah Wilson. She has played one of the biggest roles in making my life in the United States more exciting. I’ve heard many stories that teachers in America weren’t as helpful and purposeful as in other countries. Frankly speaking, I never believed that. My belief has become stronger by all the teachers I’m having here, but the biggest impressions belong to Mrs. Wilson.

Since the first day of school she has been trying to help me out in every kind of matter she is able. If not, she always knows the person who might help me. I had known nothing about Spanish before, but I’m her best student now as she says. That’s because she’s been so generous and even excited to help me and spend some time with me. She gave so many advices about living here and getting used to everything. She even got known to my host family and I’m so glad of that. We’ve already become very big friends we’re planning a trip in Georgia. She is very eager for coming over. She made me happy.

As I mentioned above, Mrs. Wilson has been giving lots of advices which are very useful in my life, we discuss about attitudes and values in America, gaining strong friendship and so on. I started to look at things differently, I made more friends began putting stronger bricks on my life wall, which’s most solid part is being built here, in the United States. That’s what I always tell her. She is just great.

We found many similarities in each other’s hobbies and favourite things, such as interest in studying foreign languages, cooking, reading, being creative and music. Me and my friends performed her favourite songs at lunch, which was so great that I’ll remember it my entire life.

I also became her assistant and I always help her organize the classroom after school with big pleasure. I’ll never ever forget her and the year I’m spending with her. I was very anxious to share my experience to you. Thank you very very much for giving this opportunity.