Swiss Student Cooking Up a Storm in Georgia
Exchange student from Switzerland cooks in her Georgia host family's kitchen

"An exchange is based on sharing."

I've enjoyed cooking since childhood. My parents would show me what they were cooking, and I would always enjoy watching them. Growing up, I would try to reproduce what they taught me, and it made me realize how much I love cooking.

So, of course, when I applied for an academic exchange year in the USA and had to talk about my hobbies in my application, I talked about cooking. I said how I would enjoy cooking for my future host family. I wanted to share recipes from all around the world. I am from Switzerland, a country in Europe, and I'm half Chinese, which makes me enjoy Asian food as much as European food.

Once I arrived in Georgia, I discovered that my host mom loves cooking just as much as I do and that she has all the equipment I need to cook. The first days I was here, she showed me her favorite recipes and how she loves to cook, which I enjoyed a lot, as she taught me techniques I've never seen before. After a few weeks, I started to cook myself.

I have made many dishes since I arrived in the USA. I made carbonara, an Italian pasta dish made with eggs, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. I prepared pho, a Vietnamese soup dish consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat.

I made lasagna, a baked Italian dish consisting of wide strips of pasta cooked and layered with meat or vegetables, cheese, and tomato sauce. I served lo mein (fried noodles with chicken, eggs, and roasted vegetables).

I also made crepes, a type of very thin French pancake, and chicken satay, a southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat, served with a sauce. I shared homemade fried chicken burgers with roasted potatoes. 

An exchange is mostly based on sharing—through food or anything else.

—Julia (Switzerland), hosted by the Lau family (GA)