High school exchange student from Turkmenistan shares his American experience

Center for Cultural Interchange, a nonprofit, J-1 visa sponsor based in Chicago, asked its 2011-12 high school exchange students to share their American experience through a video contest. Sherali Alisherov, an 11th grade student from Turkmenistan, won the contest by receiving the most number of votes for his video. Sherali currently lives with a host family in Maine and is studying in the U.S. through the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program. FLEX is a U.S. government scholarship for students from the former Soviet Union republics.

Take a look at Sherali's video and transcript of his American experience:

"Hi everyone, my name is Sherali and I am an exchange student from Turkmenistan. And I want to thank my organization, Center for Cultural Interchange, to represent myself, showing this video.  Living in the United States for nine months made me realize how exciting and amazing the experience of exchange can be. During this long period, I have learned how to be more responsible and more mature; how to live far away, way from my family and trust people I’ve never met before. And I’ve learned how to relate to people, how to find common language with my parents, my friends, and my classmates. Also, I learned a new style of life, which is different than the life that I had before.

I learned that Americans love sports—football, hockey, and basketball. I experienced the way people celebrate the holidays here—being Aladdin on Halloween and going to New Your City on Christmas.

And I found out how volunteering and community service can be so helpful for all of us. A new way of education and classes made me more interested in studying.

Lastly, I would like to thank my host family for giving me such a great opportunity to become a member of their family; to feel the American way of living. My American parents became a main part in my life and became very important to me. I realized that they can be not only guardians, but friends. Best friends. The family that I am staying with is known to everyone in the town and because of that, I found more friends who could support me during this amazing year in the USA.”

Author: CCI Greenheart