Kayaking was just one of many “firsts” for Hala during her exchange year in Indiana.

Celebrating a Year of Firsts

I have been in the U.S. for almost seven months, and I have experienced so many things I never imagined I would even get the chance to do. I have undergone the American seasons—winter is my favorite so far, because I got to see snow for the first time in my entire life. I also encountered the American holidays, which are totally different from the holidays we have in Somaliland.

I had the chance to go to Disneyworld in Florida; it felt like I was dreaming while there! Some of the other new things I have done include: going to a real life bull ride show, kayaking, riding a horse, riding in a boat, going on a roller coaster, seeing different animals, and many other things. None of these would have happened without my host family and friends. I am so thankful for being a PAX exchange student.

—Hala (PAX Means Peace Scholar, Somaliland), hosted by the Bertsch family (IN)