Experiencing the college lifestyle as a freshman while traveling abroad


Anisha Arcot, sophomore knew from a young age that she needed to participate in a foreign exchange. When the opportunity arose to travel to Beijing, China, she didn’t hesitate.

Anisha Arcot, sophomore, was raised with an advantage over other children; she was given the opportunity to begin learning a second language at the age of six.

“My parents realized how powerful China was becoming and wanted me to be fluent in the language,” Arcot said. Ever since then, second languages have become somewhat of a passion for Arcot. She is fluent in English, Chinese, Hindi and French, she is now working towards fluency in Spanish.

“Languages have always been a part of my life,” Arcot said. “I love the idea of not being limited on how you can communicate with.”

Arcot’s love of languages and new cultures helped with her decision of traveling to Beginne, China, for a semester of her Freshman year. However this fascination with languages wasn’t the only thing to fuel her desire to travel, she was also inspired by her older brother who participated in a foreign exchange his freshman year.

“I saw how much fun he had on his exchange so I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Arcot said, “I just kept thinking to myself ‘oh my gosh! I’ve got to do that!’”

After talking with her parents, it was settled, Arcot was to leave in Feb. of her freshman year to study abroad and wouldn’t return until that July.

As Arcot embarked on the exchange, she had the mindset; “I know I’m fluent, but there’s always room for improvement.”

“I was nervous but couldn’t wait,” Arcot said. “I was afraid I’d be homesick, so my goals were to just become comfortable, more independent and to have a good time.”

Once in China, Arcot realized it wasn’t as frightening as she expected.

“Everyone was super welcoming and I talked to my parents whenever I needed to.”

Arcot also loved the environment of her school, it was more of a college campus set up. On a huge property with horses, fields and stores, it also had dorms for the students to stay in.

“I was originally supposed to stay with some family friends,” Arcot said. “But I decided to stay on campus because it was more convenient and I wanted to be with my new friends.” The school day was much longer than the typical WLHS day. The students needed to be at school for fourteen hours a day, including the two hour lunch break.

“I really liked my semester of schooling there but I don’t think I’d be able to handle that for all four years of high school,” Arcot said. “It was intense, the school day was so long and I hated not being able to do sports after school.”

Towards the end of her exchange, Arcot was given the opportunity to to speak/announce at the graduation ceremony for the seniors.

“They usually have an exchange student speak, all the exchange students needed to try out and then they decided which one of us was fluent, read quickly, sounded the best and pronounced everything correctly,” Arcot said. When Arcot learned she had this opportunity she both nervous and exciting.

“It was such an honor, it was a great experience.” Ancot said, “All the seniors that were graduating were so nice, really everyone at the school was so nice, accepting and patient. I had an amazing time and would do it again in a second.”

When Arcot arrived back in Portland, Ore. she resumed her weekly Skype lessons with her Chinese instructor and her teacher immediately noticed the difference.

“She said I really improved which was so weird to me because I didn’t notice improvement at all,” Arcot said, “I guess you just don’t notice yourself improving.”

Overall Arcot had a great experience in China and is happy she took the exchange at such a young age.

“It went by so fast and was so fun, and I feel like I forgot everything.”