Enjoy the American life

Exchange student encourages others to seize opportunities


submitted photo

Story by Maryam Kulaib, staff writer

Being dropped in a new place, let alone a new country, can be daunting for anyone, yet some choose to do it voluntarily. Although there are fewer exchange students than in previous years,  their stories and interests are as unique as ever.

Exchange student Arina Tsoy is from Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, she is a senior in college, but here she is a junior. After the ninth grade, students enter college in her country.

“Life in America is quite different from life in Kazakhstan,” Tsoy said. [There are] many differences in mentality, culture, religion, education system. I like that people here are very friendly. They can help and explain everything without question. I also like that teenagers can drive a car from the age of 16, which makes it easier to get around the city. Another not very significant detail that I really like in America is a free refill in restaurants and cafes.”

Compared to films, information on the Internet and what people have told her, Tsoy said that America is different than what she expected.

“If you compare the cities in which I was in Kazakhstan and the American cities that I visited, I can confidently say that cities in America are very green and clean,” Tsoy said. “In general, America is a very interesting and amazing country with great opportunities.”

She came to the United States through the Flex exchange program, and her main goal it is to share her culture with others and to compare and learn something new about life in America.

“It is very interesting to live the life of an American teenager, go to an American school and live in an American family,” Tsoy said. “I like such a diverse experience. I find it very exciting and useful to travel and explore differences in mentality and cultures.”

Being far away from family isn’t new for Tsoy.

“I already lived away from my family, while I was in college,” Tsoy said. “Of course, this is difficult at first, but everyone in their life should gain experience of living separately from their family, become more responsible, learn something new. ”

Tsoy has enjoyed sharing things about her country with others.

“I would like to tell more about my culture and about Kazakhstan in general. After all, to visit the country itself and just listen about it are two different things,” Tsoy said. “I have already made several presentations about Kazakhstan in my classes, and it was quite fascinating to talk about my country, answer students’ questions, learn their words in Kazakh and Russian, give them a try on Kazakhstan chocolate, which many people liked. ”

Tsoy said she never imagined that she would come to America, so now she encourages others to seize opportunities and take risks.

“There are so many amazing opportunities in the world, you just have to trust yourself,” Tsoy said. “The most amazing events in life happen suddenly. No one knows what will happen in a day, a week or a year. But I understood something very important. If I really wanted achieve my goal without lowering my head, I could succeed, no matter how difficult it would be. I hope this year will teach me a lot. In the meantime, I will enjoy life here.”