FLEX Student of the Month: November 2022
Exchange student from Georgia with wooded autumn background

A big Georgian-American family

[This article is featured in the Nov. 2022 issue of PAX Press.]

PAX - Program of Academic Exchange is honored to nominate Nia, a FLEX exchange student from Georgia and Avon, Indiana as the FLEX November Student of the Month!

Nia realizes how fortunate she is to have this opportunity as a FLEX student and has dedicated part of her time in the U.S. to sharing her experience with others. She created a YouTube channel to share her experience with Georgians. Some of her videos include a typical day at an American high school, interviews with foreign exchange students from other countries, and reflections on her experiences so far.

Nia also created a TikTok account to educate and share cultural similarities and differences. In her most recent video, she included other exchange students representing six different countries. That video has more than 300,000 views! Nia plans to continue to upload videos to both platforms throughout her exchange year. She says, “It’s a fantastic way to share my life in the U.S. with the rest of the world, especially with people in my home country.”

Nia was a natural match for her host family. Nia taught her host siblings how to count up to 15 in Georgian and is working on teaching them Georgian songs. She enjoyed camping with her host family and took the opportunity to share a piece of Georgian culture, making Georgian treats like pelamushi (sweet grape pudding) and churchkhela (candle-shaped candy with grape, nuts, and flour).

Nia is not the only one who has matched well in this exchange. Because her Georgian family has so many similarities to her American family, they have formed a unique bond. Nia has siblings the same age as her host brother and sister. Now, her two brothers are pen pals, her sisters share pictures, and her two mothers correspond as friends. When Nia thinks about her family growing in this way, she says, "I can't believe that on the other side of the world, there's a family so similar to mine. We all agree that it’s not only me who found a second family, but all of us are a part of one huge Georgian-American family now.”

We all agree that it’s not only me who found a second family.

Nia is excelling in her classes and is taking a wide range of courses. Nia has joined three after-school clubs, including German club, multicultural club, and the interact club. She is also joining the swim team later this month.

Nia has a heart for volunteering and serving others and has already completed 35 hours of service. During the Junior Day of Caring, Nia and her classmates served the community by deep cleaning the Hendricks County Senior Center. In addition to her service-oriented school clubs, she has sought out opportunities outside school, including the local library and the Superhero Fun Run, a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In her first month of school, Nia was awarded Student of the Month. With a student body of 3,600 students, this is a fantastic accomplishment! Her nominating teacher said, "Nia comes to class every day ready to participate to the best of her abilities. She is always engaged in the activity and gives excellent effort.” Nia is also being featured on the school news in an interview about her home country. She proudly shared Georgia's culture and her experience as an exchange student.

When asked about her experience being a part of the FLEX program, Nia said, “Being selected as a FLEX finalist has been the biggest achievement of my life. Being a successful exchange student and representing my country is one of my top priorities.”

Nia has embraced being an exchange student and a representative of Georgia, the FLEX program, and PAX. For this reason, PAX is delighted to nominate Nia as the FLEX November Student of the Month!

—The PAX Sponsored Team