Nadin from Kazakhstan Shares “One of the Most Important Years of My Life”

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Nadin is currently participating in CHI’s Private High School Program.  She was asked to share her experience attending private high school in the U.S.

Hi! My name is Nadin, I am an exchange student from Kazakhstan residing in one of America’s most beautiful states – New Hampshire! I’m studying in my junior year at Bow High School.

As far back as I can remember, I have been interested in how people in other countries live and what their everyday life is like. Are they the same as us? If not, how different are we?  I was fortunate to be born into a wonderful family with amazing parents that have always encouraged my enthusiastic interests.  They inspired my brother and myself to look at the world with wide-open eyes. Together, we have visited and toured almost all European countries and part of America. But no matter how much I learned about those places, cultures and traditions you can not compare it to actually living the experience.

I’ve been studying in Bow High School for 3 months now and I already can say that the biggest difference between high schools in my country and America is that here, you can pick among diverse courses that are closer to your personal interests and college goals. Meanwhile, in Kazakhstan, all lessons are mandatory as school gives you no choice in your academic education or class selection. I selected my schedule in the beginning of this school year and even though sometimes courses have the same subject matter as in Kazakhstan, many differences can be found. For example, I am currently taking Chemistry class and even though in Kazakhstan this subject was mandatory starting from eighth grade, there are many more laboratory and practical works going on in class that is almost incredible. I am currently taking an Intro to Engineering course, even though it may be not my future career, I am convinced that this course will help me develop my creativity and brainstorming abilities which are great skills to have. At the beginning of the year, I thought that learning a new language would be a wonderful opportunity and I am glad that I am taking Spanish because what can be more exciting than a fourth language!

Right now my favorite class is Concert Choir, it is something I have always been interested in but have never tried, and as you have probably noticed, I am excited and open for all new things. I have always enjoyed listening to other people singing and playing instruments but have never considered myself as a musical person. I first started thinking about singing at the beginning of the summer before my exchange year and luckily I found out that there is a choir course at Bow High School. I thought that it would be a perfect way to pave the path to my musical passion. As the course started I found so many interesting and incredible people! I even decided to join the musical at school, it will be my first ever musical. We are performing the Disney musical, The Little Mermaid and I am playing the parts of a Sea Creature and Courtier. Can’t wait!

Talking about new things, I have never experienced events like Halloween or Thanksgiving as those holidays are not celebrated in my country. You can’t imagine how excited I was for my first ever Halloween! It all started with picking out the costume… And what can be better than a unicorn with blue hair? Only a unicorn with blue hair playing the harp! I spent the whole evening giving out candies to children with incredible, even strange costumes like hamburgers, princesses, squirrel, clowns, superheroes and even more unicorns!

I have had so many new experiences. For example, I learned more about myself as a person living in a whole new environment. I have always been aware that I am a shy person but it was the first time I saw it as a problem- not being able to communicate with people more freely. During my time here I have found myself gaining more and more confidence which will be extremely helpful in my future life. Even though I haven’t been here the whole year, I can consciously say that the decision to do an exchange year is one of the most important decisions I have ever made and I am certain it will turn out as an outrageous experience.

Of course, I didn’t do all of that by myself! I am extremely happy that I am part of an amazing host family that supported all the new things that I am trying. And it has given me comfort when I was feeling low. Of course! Whole different country, ten thousand kilometers from home! No one has ever left me alone and I am thankful for everything they have done and are doing for me. And why did no one tell me having animal friends is so much fun?!

Can you imagine? It has only been 3 months! I’m looking forward to upcoming adventures during the rest of the year.

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