Nigerian's New Passion
Nigerian exchange student in mountain bike race at Vermont high school

Determined Khalid peddles past competition

On my third week in The United States of America, I tried out for varsity soccer but I didn’t make the team. I am so glad that my host brother Alex made it. My host mom asked me if I wanted to stay on the JV soccer team or try something new and join the mountain biking team. I told her that I would get back to her.

I thought about it that night and then concluded that I was going to go for it—I was going to try mountain biking. I will be forever grateful to her for this suggestion because I found spectacular experiences and new passions where I didn’t expect them. I never regretted my choice.

My first day on the team was wonderful because of the way my teammates and coaches helped me. I missed the first two weeks of practice, and at first, I thought, “I can’t do this because I have never experienced anything like it in my life.” 

But then, I remembered what my dad once told me; he said, “A journey of a hundred miles begins with one step.” So, I got some courage to walk into the unknown.

There is something unique I found out about mountain biking from my experience. It requires a lot of determination and courage. The reason I decided to do it is because I want to try new things in my life and because I love challenging myself.

I finished my first race in 14th place. I finished my second and third races in fourth place. In my next race I finally did it, I landed in first place. This was my first time on the podium, so I was extra happy. With courage, dedication, and an open mind, I believe you too can do awesome things.  

—Khalid (YES, Nigeria), hosted by the Wasyliko family (VT)