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Ariana Kouhestani, ’22

Canterbury School, Indiana

Ariana Kouhestani

Hey:) I’m Ariana from Germany and I’m currently staying in Fort Wayne. Indiana and am studying at Canterbury High School which is a day school.

What are your expectations of your ASSIST year?

From the beginning, I tried to not have too many expectations because I knew that it wasn’t going to turn out how I imagined it to be, and I was totally right with respect to that approach. I got involved in sports that I’d never done before and was never planning on doing. I did swim, track and got involved in the musicals one time as an actor and one time as the choreographer of the play and I found so much happiness in these activities. I even got the opportunity to become a soccer coach for kids with needs which was also completely new for me.

What is the biggest surprise of your ASSIST year so far?

Even though I didn’t have too many expectations, everything seemed to be different than I imagined. I honestly thought that I wouldn’t have culture shock at all, but I was totally wrong. I compared every single thing, and everything seemed to be different too, no matter if it was the size of trash cans or the personality of the people here.

What is a new challenge for you and how are you approaching it?

Everyone is extremely nice and open which made it hard to find the real people sometimes. That was probably my biggest challenge. “Fishing” real friends out of the pool of all nice people was a process and I wished I hadn’t stressed about it as much as I did because friendships can’t be built over night. But after a few weeks I found my best friends and I made unforgettable memories with them. Also, a big challenge for me was changing my host family which turned out to be the best decision I’ve made here. My new host family is the nicest ever and the relationship with my host mother got so strong within days.

What has been a particularly unforgettable moment for you so far during your ASSIST year?

One of my highlights was the college trip that was planned by my school. We visited 3 states and many colleges, which was super interesting because I learned a lot about the American school system. The best part about it was definitely being with my friends the whole day and walking around in Washington DC with a small group of friends on the last day. Of course, being with the people from school all day long doesn’t happen a lot because attending a day school means living with a host family and only being in school until 3 pm but I still experienced vacations and trips with my friends.

What does being selected for an ASSIST Scholarship mean to you?

I am so thankful that I got chosen to be in this program because without ASSIST I would have never experienced what I did the past few months which seems crazy to me because the last 7 months have had such a big influence on me and I can’t even imagine myself without them.

What do you think is special about ASSIST?

ASSIST has a big community, but it still seems so close and like a family. Also, the opportunity ASSIST gives students to study at a private school expands your image on how school can work, how close students and teachers can be and how intense the classes are.

Why should people support ASSIST?

I hope that in the future many more students are able to experience similar things and helping them should be a priority to the ASSIST alumni since they got the opportunity experience it beforehand.

What else? Anything we forgot to ask?

I know my ASSIST year is almost over, but I can’t wait to share my experiences. Thank you, ASSIST, for making all of this possible!! My tip for future ASSIST scholars is to not stress about friendships too much. I did overthink it too much and wanted to rush into friendships but there really isn’t any need for that. It always takes a while, and you should remember that the real people will stay. Feeling alone, sad or any other negative feeling is totally normal. And, of course, it’s hard to hear that it’s going to get better when you’re in a bad situation, but I promise you it will!