New Hampton (IOWA)

By : Briggita Jakob

New Hampton is a small town with only about 3000 people in it. Because it is a small town, people are really friendly and while on the road, people say hi even though they don’t know each other. That’s one of the nice things of being in New Hampton. Iowa is well-known for its corn production. It has produced the largest corn crop of any state for each of the past 14 years. Everytime I go out of town, I can spot cornfield everywhere. Winter in Iowa can be really harsh. It can reach minus 23⁰C in January. But, it doesn’t disappoint me as I am so excited to experience snow and white Christmas.

I stayed with Anita Reichling. She is a single woman who has ever hosted 5 exchange students in the past 7 years. She really enjoys hosting exchange students. She has a twin sister who usu ally comes over with her family. Anita has a puppy, Bella, who is so aggressive and cute.

I go to New Hampton High School. I walk to school everyday and it is about 15-minute-walking. I am a senior. My friends are really friendly to me and I have some close friends with whom I usually hang out with. We usually watch football game, watch movie, and play laser tag (It is like playing hide and seek at night. So fun!). I join volleyball and individual speech. Being part of a group is a really good way to get friends and get some new experiences. My favorite class is US Government. The lesson isn’t so easy to cover, but my teacher is so fun and he makes the materials easy to understand by doing some fun activities in class. I also take clay design and last month, we got a chance to visit some artists around Northeast Iowa in studio tour.

I have experienced so many amazing things since I arrived here. Two days after I arrived, I went to Native American PowWow. It is a ceremony to commemorate Native Americans who died at war fighting for their country. Most of the ceremony was filled with many types of dancing and the dancers were ranging from kids to the elders. They wore really beautiful and colorf ul costumes with certain make up, head accessories and feet bracelets. My favorite part was: At the end of ceremony, all audiences were invited to go field to dance victory dance. It was such an honor! I also got a chance to go to The Nutcracker Ballet—the show was really beautiful—and paint Friendship Quilt with my friends—Anna from Germany, and Soie from South Korea.

Last November, some exchange students under ASSE consortium in the Midwest area got a chance to ga ther in Minnesota. We went to Mall of America, the biggest mall in America. It was amazingly big (I even got lost) and there is Nickelodeon Universe inside it! I tried roller coaster for the first time in my life, saw the statues of cartoon characters, went to LEGO park, went to a really big candy shop, and went shopping (of course!). It was a really neat experience.😀

And another great experience is when I and the youth group members from church volunteered at Christmas Child Operation program in Minnesota. We packed shoeboxes with gifts inside them, which they get from people’s donations, and the boxes will be sent to children all over the world (like Kenya, India, Haiti, including Indonesia!) so that they can experience Christmas as well. I am so impressed and I feel like working at Santa’s factory. Super cool, huh?

In a nutshell,being in America has become the greatest experience in my life. But time runs really fast that it is 5 months already since I arrived in August. There is a quote saying “You only live once, but if you do it right, once it enough”. The opportunity to come to America may or may not come again. So I promise myself that I will make this year as great as possible :D!

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