Foreign exchange student from Japan with her host sister from Louisiana at a dance studio
On her first day at their dance studio, Chisato poses with host sister Kairah

Finding her Smile

My American school life started on August 13. At first, I was so nervous that I could barely muster a smile. I've made quite a few friends, but in some classes, I still don't have many people to talk to. I know that it's important for me to to remain proactive, as I continue to settle in. This way, I can make a lot of friends.

That said, I was able to make a best friend! Her name is Mc’Kaila. She wants to study abroad next year. So, we both are good teachers. We teach our own language to the other. She teaches me a lot about English and America. I appreciate it. I want to make more friends like Mc’Kaila. This is my big goal now. 

Also, I take part in debate and speech club. Comeaux High Schol has won many competitions. I begin practice next week. I cannot wait to start it! 

Outside school, I am learning singing and dancing. These are so exciting. These two help me to express my emotion to other people. Little by little, I am getting how to express myself to others. 

Also, I love my host family. They are so kind to me, and they talk to me as a member of the family. I cannot forget what my host mother said the first night: “You are already my family; you are my daughter.” This put me at ease. 

My English still needs a lot of work; however, I have the greatest environment and people around me. So, I am going to talk a lot even if my English is not good. And, I am going to smile a lot, because my new life in America has just started!

—Chisato (Japan), hosted by the Johnson family (LA)