It never ceases to amaze us here at Ayusa to hear all of the amazing things that our students accomplish during their time in the U.S.! From the countless hours of volunteering to the impact that left on their host family and community, our students truly exemplify the true value of an exchange year.
It was recently brought to our attention that one of our students was selected to represent her areas Boys & Girls Club in the annual convention in Anaheim! Rachel, from Germany and living with the Rosen Family in New Jersey, joined the Boy & Girls Club when she first arrived for her exchange year. “I was just new here and my friend from school told me about the Club and I thought it was a good opportunity to make new friends, get to know the country better and do something good,” she says. Rachel’s friend Sara encouraged her to join as well.
The Club participates in numerous events throughout the year, from volunteer projects to life-skills enrichment to plain fun activities. Rachel’s favorite so far was “Breakfast with Santa,” where children were able to meet Santa, take pictures and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Rachel explains, “it was just so cute and American” and “everyone was so happy and excited for Christmas.”
Rachel remembers the moment she learned she was selected to represent the Wayne Unit of the Boys & Girls Club for the annual National Keystone Conference in Anaheim. “We were jumping and dancing and I was so happy and honored that I was able to present this Club in Anaheim! A dream came true!” The objective of the conference is to foster character and leadership development and to bring members from all over the world together. “They had invited a lot of different people who presented parts of their lives,” Rachel explains. “Which showed us how you can do anything, really anything, even if it doesn't seem like it.”
After the conference was over, Rachel was also awarded the honor of being selected as Rookie of the Year! “I hadn't known anything about this award before so it was such a great surprise and I was so honored that I actually won it!” Everyone within the Club has had nothing but positive things to say about Rachel. Education Director Dan Dipsey says of her, “Rachel has done an outstanding job working with the children and in the process become a great role model and leader for them to look up to.” He continues, “She is kind, caring, energetic and extremely hard working.”
Through all of her experiences both with the Boys & Girls Club and her time in the U.S., Rachel says she has “gained the wish to make a different” which happens to also be the slogan for the Keystone Club. “From working with people who do such good things with their hearts and make people so happy and thankful made the wish come up in me to do it better and be happy and grateful for what you already got!”
For students who are coming to America next academic year to study and live, Rachel shares “the most important thing is to realize what a great chance you got to come to America and live your dream!”
“I just want to thank everyone who made my adventure here in America possible and so awesome! In the first place, there is my family back in Germany who is just always there! They are the best! Then, my host family here in America, who is so wonderful and give me so much more than they probably know. And finally, all my friends, in Germany and in America! I'm just so happy to have you! And all the other people! THANK YOU!”
Aysua would like to congratulate Rachel on her tremendous achievements and thank her for all of the hard work and dedication she has shown to her host community!