Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Break

My thanksgiving break just ended (sadly enough), and I'm back to school and tests. It was nice to have a few days off because apparently American schools don't really like holidays. ;) I've only had 5 days off school so far. 2 days for fall break and 3 days for thanksgiving break. I had a great time together with my host family! It was awesome to celebrate thanksgiving for the very first time. This blogpost will be all about what I did during thanksgiving break.

Me, Cassidy, Kaylee & Duffy, Kendall, Amy & Chandler. 

For the ones who don't know what thanksgiving is: it's the fourth Thursday in november, when people give thanks for all kinds of things in their life. It originates in the 17th century: native Americans had helped Pilgrims with their harvest and they held a big feast to celebrate that, the first Thanksgiving day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A week in my American life

After writing a blogpost about A day in my American life, I thought it would be fun to write about a typical week here as well! I won't tell much about specific classes but I'll mostly tell the activities I did after school. I'm not going to start on Monday but on Friday, since I want to write about my weekend as well. My week was filled with a retreat, exchange student meeting, lacrosse practice, birthday and much more! Hope you enjoy reading. :)

Everyone that was at the retreat!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Video #2 / EF Student Video Crew

Hi there!
Just a short post to let you know that the second video of the EF Student Video Crew is online! This one is all about the Welcome Days. It brings up some really good memories since I loved my time there. Please let me know if you have anything you'd like me to film during my year here. Enjoy watching!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Halloween, chorus concert & more!

Hi everyone!
It's november already and I can't really believe it. I've been here for over three months now and it's crazy to think about that. I've done a lot of fun things but during the week I also just go to school and do homework. Last weekend was Halloween and it was awesome! In the Netherlands Halloween isn't a big thing, and no one goes trick-or-treating. But here in the USA it's an important time! Lots of houses are decorated and all the kids go trick-or-treating. Even though I'm not a kid anymore I still went trick-or-treating with Julia, a German exchange student. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Our first video!

As most of you know, I'm a member of the EF Student Video Crew! If you don't know what this is: the crew consists of 31 EF Students who make all kinds of videos about their exchange year. We send all our footage to EF and their editors make professional videos out of it.
If you want to read more about it and how I became a member, click here to read my blogpost all about this.

The reason for this post, is that our first video is out! This video is all about the preparations, saying goodbye to our family and friends and leaving our home countries. On the website The Exchange Life our new videos will be posted, which will be every month. And there are also a lot of videos on the website that EF already made, so check it out if you're interested in an exchange year yourself!

Enjoy watching!

Monday, October 26, 2015


Last weekend was a really exciting one for me, because it was homecoming weekend! For the ones who don't know what this is: it's an annual tradition in the United States to welcome back alumni of a school. It includes a lot of activities, like an homecoming football game and homecoming dance. It shouldn't be confused with prom, since homecoming is mostly in fall and prom in spring. I went to both the game and the dance, and I had a lot of fun! In this blogpost I'll show you some pictures and tell about my experience.

The great group of girls I went to the homecoming dance with! 

A day in my American life

Hi y'all!
In this blogpost I want to describe a typical day in my life here. I usually write a lot about special or fun things I do, but I realized that I haven't talked yet about a normal school day. An exchange year is not only fun, because I have to do homework and take tests as well.

7:30 - Rise and Shine! This is the time I usually wake up. I'm glad that my school doesn't start really early, since I need all the sleep I can get. Being an exchange student is really tiring, especially speaking another language all day. I notice that when I'm tired, I often confuse Dutch and English. The result of this is that I accidentally speak Dutch to my American friends.

Fall break @ Walt Disney World

Two weeks ago it was finally time for the first holiday of my year here: fall break! I'm used to having a fall break of one whole week, but in the USA you only get 2 days off school. Luckily there's a weekend right after that so we had 4 days without school. And we spent those days in the best possible way: by visiting Disneyworld in Florida! It was my first time there and I absolutely loved it. This blogpost will be all about our trip. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Spirit Week

Last week was a really important week for Eastside High School, because it was Spirit Week! For the ones who don't know what this is: it's a week where the school raises money for a good cause. All week there are a lot of activities and things to buy. Every day has a different theme in which the students have to dress up. The week ends with a big football game and the reveal of the amount of money raised. It was my first and last Spirit Week ever, and I loved it! It's awesome to see how much the students are involved in organizing events and supporting the school. Of course I participated in some events myself! This blogpost will be all about that.

The Junior Girls team during Powderpuff, together with the boys who coached us. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I've been up to

Hi everyone! Here's an update with some things I did lately. My life here in the USA is starting to feel more and more 'normal'. It's been 47 days since I left the Netherlands, and everything doesn't feel new anymore. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy it though! I'm still happy with my choice and I love living in the United States :)

With the other exchange students
A week ago, my exchange organization EF organized a picnic for all the exchange students in the region. The picnic was at the Greenville Zoo which is pretty close to my house. In Greenville itself are 3 exchange students with EF. Many of the other exchange students came from the states Georgia, North Carolina and some came from other places in South Carolina. I'd met a few of them already, but it was great to meet the other ones as well! Every family had taken something to eat with them. Together with the exchange students and an IEC we talked about our first weeks here, adapting to a new school and homesickness. I feel like the beginning of an exchange year is the hardest, because you don't know anyone yet. You have to make friends and adapt to a new life. During my year, there will be more activities with our 'exchange group', so that will be nice!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Exchange student tag

Hi there! Today I decided to fill in the exchange student tag, which I found on another blog. It contains a lot of random questions about my exchange year. Hopefully you'll like reading it! 

1. What is your name, age, nationality and company?
My name is Sarah, I'm 17 years old, I'm from the Netherlands and I'm traveling with EF!

2. Where are you spending your exchange year?
I'm living in Greenville, South Carolina.

Our student section during the football game last friday!

3. Why did you decide to be an exchange student?
I really wanted to go to the USA, but not as a tourist! Of course I want to visit nice places, but I'm more interested in experiencing the culture. The only way to really experience a culture is to live in a local family and to do what other American teenagers do. I also want to speak English fluently, because that will help me a lot in the future. And I want to find out what I want to do after high school, because right now I have no idea. But the most important thing is that I want to have an experience I'll never forget! If you want to read more, I wrote a blog post about the same question a few months ago.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My first month

Hi there! I know it's been a while since I've updated my blog, but I have a good reason for that: I've just been too busy to sit down and write a long blog post. The main reason for that is school, because all the new experiences (and the amount of homework!) are really tiring. In this post I want to tell you about what's going on in my life and what kind of things I did lately!

I'm starting to get used to going to school here, and I still like my subjects a lot. It gets easier to understand everything that's been said and I've met some nice new people! A hard thing about the American school system is that I have the same classes every day. So I can't procrastinate anymore, because homework is mostly due the next day. And we get a grade for all the homework we do! In this way I'm forced to make it.

Football game!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First day of school

Eastside high school!
Yesterday my first day of American high school finally started! I was really nervous about it before, but there was no need to be nervous. School here is a lot of fun and I love all my classes! In this post I want to tell you how my first day has been.

I don't have to take the school bus, because my host sister can drive me to school. It's only a short drive. In my opinion the school starts very late: at 8:45! It's great though because in that way I can sleep longer, haha. When we walked into the school I immediately felt like I was in a movie, which was really fun to experience. It wasn't really hard for me to find my classes during the day, because I already had a tour through the school. I only got late one time so that's a great accomplishment for me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Biggest differences so far

I thought it would be fun to tell you something about the biggest differences between the USA and the Netherlands I've seen so far. Even though I've only been here for 10 days, I can tell that there are many!

1. The food
I love the food here! I've tried many things so far: Reese's, twinkies, Chick-fil-A, hamburgers (of course), Chipotle and El Jimador (both Mexican restaurants), bagels, frozen custard, P.F. Chang's (Asian food), cream soda... My two favorites were Reese's (peanut butter cups) and Chick-fil-A! In general, the food is not as healthy as in the Netherlands because there are many fast food restaurants. The dishes are also bigger. Another difference is that they take leftovers of the food in restaurants with them, so they can eat it another time. I think that's a good thing because the food doesn't go to waste.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Arriving in South Carolina

In my last post I talked to you about the Welcome Days, and in this post I want to tell you what happened after that! Together with a girl from Denmark I flew to Atlanta, Georgia. There we had to change planes to fly to Greenville, South Carolina. Both flights went okay and in the flight to Greenville we were booked in First class! It was the first time flying First class for me and I really enjoyed it. During the flight we were nervous but also excited to meet our host families. When we got out of the plane we walked around a corner and there were our host families already!

My host family and their welcome signs

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Welcome Days

I've been with my host family for two days now and I just love it here! I'll write a post about arriving at my host family later. In this post I want to tell you something about the Welcome Days.

Last picture with my family!

On Wednesday August 5 my exchange year finally started! I drove together with my parents and sister to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. There I had to check in to my flight and shortly after that it was already time to say goodbye to my family. I found it really hard to say goodbye and the hardest thing was to walk away from them knowing I won't be seeing them for a long time. That was also the moment I realized that I was really starting my exchange year.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

EF Student Video Crew

I have some really exciting news to share with you: I am going to be a part of the EF Student Video Crew!
A few weeks ago I saw an announcement on the Facebook page of EF exchange year. This is what it said:

We are looking for students from the Class of ’16 to join our EF Student Video Crew!
As a member of the EF Student Video Crew, you will film your experiences before and during your exchange year and submit your unedited footage to EF for editing by professional videographers. We will create short videos each month to share online, and at the end of the year we will create a longer Exchange Story Documentary.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My first time in the USA

As I've told on my blog before, I've already been to the USA once. When I was 12 I visited New York together with my grandparents. I've wanted to go to New York as long as I can remember and the city definitely didn't disappoint me! I'm so happy that the EF Welcome Days are also in New York so I can go to this beautiful city once again. The first group of exchange students has already left and my year is getting closer and closer, just 2 weeks left! :) Lately I was searching through some pictures and when I saw the ones from NY I decided to share some on my blog.

I've got the best grandparents ever and I'm still so thankful that they made it possible to go to New York! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting closer

Since my summer holiday started I've been spending time with family and friends, and preparing for my exchange year. I've had (another) goodbye party, but this time for the 'adults': my family and friends of the family. It was great even though it was really hot that day. I still can't believe I won't be seeing some of them for a long time. Luckily there's Skype and social media! :)


My parents and sister gave me a photoshoot for my birthday on the 30th of may, and two weeks ago we planned the photoshoot! It was a really nice thing to do and it's great to have some good pictures together with my family. I won't be able to take pictures with them for almost a year and they are the people I'm going to miss the most. They will probably visit me in the USA in the second half of the school year, but that's still a long time without them! Luckily my host family is really nice so I hope I won't get homesick often.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Goodbye Party

Two days ago I organized a goodbye party for my friends. It is really weird to realize that I won't be seeing a few of them for 11 months. Even though I can't wait for my year to start, I have mixed feelings because I will miss them a lot! We had a really nice evening with hot and sunny weather (finally it's summer in the Netherlands!), there was a lot of American food and I got many nice presents. We made many pictures and I'm going to show a few of them in this blogpost! 

With Eva and Amber

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Within two months I'll be living in a typical American suburb of Greenville in South Carolina, which is called Taylors. I've been walking through it in street view and it looks so nice and American. In this post I want to tell you something about Greenville!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Because I haven't written on my blog for a while I wanted to give you a little update of what's going on. I've been quite busy with school lately, and it's not finished yet because my final test week is coming up. After that I only have to review my tests and hand in my school books though, so that's a little bit vacation already. And then my school gets out at the 3rd of July and my holiday is finally starting! I'll tell something about an EF meeting, my visa and skyping with my host family!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Host family & High School!

I have some really good news to share with you! I finally know my host family, high school and future hometown. I think EF did a great job because I couldn't be happier about my placement.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Netherlands & My hometown

Before I start with this blog post, I want to let you know that I've got some more details about my placement! I finally heard in which state I'm going to live. But since it's not certain yet I won't tell anything about the exact place. I can only say that the state is located in the south of the USA. When I have more information I'll definitely tell it on my blog.

Especially for my foreign readers, I decided to tell something about my home country and the town where I live! I found some fun facts on a website called and I think they are perfectly right, so I wanted to share them with you. These facts are all about the Netherlands and as a Dutchie myself I can say they are all true.

Beautiful Amsterdam, I love this city!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

EF Workshop day

Yesterday EF organized a day especially for exchange students who are leaving this summer to the USA, Great Britain or Ireland! It was amazing to meet the other exchange students and everyone was really nice :)
The day took place at the EF office in Amsterdam, where we got workshops about Social Media for example. We also did some fun team building activities and we got a quiz with all kind of questions about our exchange year.
We got a lot of information about the customs of our host countries, what to do and what not to do during our year, cultural differences and so on. And let's just don't forget about our awesome CLASS OF '16 t-shirts!
After the workshop we had dinner in the centre of Amsterdam with a small group of exchange students which was delicious and a lot of fun.
This day made me look forward to my exchange year even more, only 3 months to go!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

American Bucket List

There are a few things (almost) every exchange student wants to do, especially when they are going to the USA. And those are also the things I’m looking forward to for my exchange year. I decided to make a bucket list with things I’d love to do next year. Enjoy reading!
Dress up for halloween
Here in the Netherlands we don’t really celebrate Halloween. Okay, there might be some Halloween movies on the television and maybe some Halloween themed parties, but it’s not celebrated as big as in the USA. We don’t decorate our houses or do ‘Trick and Treat’. So that’s something I’d love to do next year: I definitely want to dress up in some weird costume and see all those decorated houses.

Go to prom
In my opinion this is the ultimate exchange thing, haha :) In the Netherlands the school parties aren’t a big thing, at least not at my school. But in the USA prom is a really big thing, and weeks before girls are already looking for the perfect dress. I would normally never wear those, but for an occasion like that it’s really nice. When I see the beautiful pictures of current exchange students I can’t wait to experience prom myself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The States #2

So, as promised the next post with 10 new states! Click here to read the first post where I tell you something about the states Alabama until Georgia. In each post I'll describe 10 states because I'd like to know something more about them. There's much to tell about each state so there must be some important things I don't mention. Just leave a comment if you can add something interesting!
And no, I still don't know where I'm going next year! But there's a big chance I'll hear it soon, so stay tuned :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tips for future exchange students #1: The application

As an exchange student myself I wanted to give you some tips, especially if you're thinking about being an exchange student too! I can't tell you how it'll be yet because I've not even left haha. But until now everything I heard about the High School Exchange Year is really positive so I can only recommend it. And since I've already been through the whole process of making this decision and finishing my application I thought it would be nice to give you some tips about that part.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

TAG: Get to know me better

Because many of you liked my previous tag, the Travel TAG, I decided to fill in another tag. I picked some questions from already existing tags and made my own of it! It includes many random questions, so be prepared :) I hope you'll like to read it and to get to know me better.
Feel free to use the questions too if you like. Let me know because I'd love to read your answers.

With my sisss
Do you have siblings?
Yes, I have one sister called Nina! She is 15 and one of my best friends. We have the same interests and we almost never argue. I'm gonna miss her so much next year!

What eye color do you have?
Green. My parents and sister have blue eyes so I don't know how I ended up with this color hahaha.

What are your favorite clothes stores?
My favorite one is H&M I think, because I can always find something nice there. I also like Pull & Bear and Bershka!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The States #1

Hi everyone,
Because I'm still waiting to know the state I'm going to live in next year, I decided to make some blogposts about the different American states. In each post I will describe ten states. I don't know if I'll do all the states, because at that time I'll probably already have my host family and have other things to write about.
There's much to tell about each state so there must be some important things that I don't mention. Just leave a comment if you can add something interesting! Enjoy reading :)


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Q & A

Hi everyone,
I thought it would be a nice idea to answer some short questions about me and the expectations of my exchange year. If you have any other questions you'd like to ask me, leave a comment so I can answer them in my next post!

I can't wait for this moment!
What's the organization you're traveling with?
EF! Until now, I'm quite happy with them. At the beginning, there wasn't much contact but now it's really better. They have this special social network for exchange students called 'My EF' where you can read everything about your exchange year and get in touch with other exchange students, which I really like!
If you're also interested in an High School Year, you can take a look at my Ambassador Page. There you can order a free brochure to learn more about an exchange year.

Do you already have a host family?
No, I'm still waiting for my state and host family. And I have to say, it's really nerve-racking because I'm thinking a lot about the coming year! It's hard to imagine how it'll be because I don't know where I'll stay and how my host family will look like.
But I understand that it takes time to find a good host family. That's because many host family's wait until their kids go to college or their current exchange student leaves. So I just try to be patient even though I'm not really good at that, haha :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Typical American things

Hi everyone,
In this post I want to tell you about some typical American things that are usually a lot different in Europe and the Netherlands. For the Americans this are just normal everyday things, but for me (and other exchange students) they are really special. I can't wait to experience all these things when I'll be living in the USA. I've only been to the USA once, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this are the most important things:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Travel TAG (been there, done that)

Hi everyone,
Because my exchange year has a lot to do with traveling, I decided to fill in the travel TAG that I translated from Dutch to English. One of the reasons I chose to go abroad is because I love seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. I'm lucky that my parents and school gave me the opportunity to already see some beautiful places in the world. But I like it just as much to travel in my own country, and I absolutely don't want to brag about the travels I made.

So, there we go!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why an exchange year?

South Africa this summer

Hi everyone,
In this post I want to tell you some of the reasons why I chose to be an exchange student. It's a big decision because I'm leaving my family, friends and country for 10 months, to live in a new place with people I don't know yet. I'll have to start over again and make new friends. But I think the advantages are bigger than the disadvantages. This are some reasons I'm going to do an exchange year:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How it all started

Hi everyone,
A few years ago I accidentally visited the EF website and I read something about the High School exchange year. It seemed like a really nice and adventurous thing to do, but I was a lot younger back then so I didn't think about really doing it.

Then, in september 2014, I saw an EF ad on Facebook. I visited the EF Facebook page and saw that there would be an information meeting about the High School year in my city the next day. I thought: 'why not?' so I applied and went there with my mother and sister. I really liked the meeting and an High School year seemed like something perfect for me. I had been on two exchanges before that were organized by my school and those where amazing experiences. 

So I decided I wanted to do an exchange year, but first I wanted to go the the USA after I graduated from High School in the Netherlands. There only was a small problem: I would be already 18 years old and because of that, there would only be few host families available. I would also be older than almost all the people in the High School. After thinking a lot about it, I decided to go to the USA next year, and finish my last year of school in the Netherlands when I'm back.

There are many organizations that offer an exchange year, so I did some research and I also searched for opportunities to go to university in the USA. But I found out that I liked the idea of going to an High School the most and that EF was the best organization for me, because they have offices in all the countries so you don't have to rely on another organization when you're abroad.

After my decision I applied for an interview. The interview is mandatory for all EF students because they can make sure you are motivated and your level of English is good enough. Firstly, the interview leader told many things about her own exchange year which was very nice to hear! After that, I had to write a letter to my future host family and there was an interview in English, where I had to answer questions about me, why I wanted to go on an exchange year and what I wanted to learn from it. After a few days I got a phone call that I was accepted into the program!

When I was accepted, I had to finish my application, go to the doctor for a Certificate of Health, let a teacher write a Letter of Recommendation for me, fill in my grades and so on.

And that's where we are now! All the paperwork is finished and I just have to wait for the state I'm going to live in and the host family I'll stay with. I hope you will follow me on my blog this year :) 

Monday, January 19, 2015

About me

Hi everyone,
In this post I'll tell you something about me and the things I like to do. My name is Sarah Gulien and I'm 16 years old. I'm turning 17 on may 30th. My family consists of me, my sister Nina (15 years old) and my parents Justin and Nienke (42 and 43 years old). We've got 2 cats and a rabbit. I really like to travel and to experience different cultures. I also love music and playing guitar, acting and reading! If I'm not doing one of those things, you'll probably find me with my friends or family. I think that the hardest thing about my exchange year will be that I'm going to miss my friends and family so much. But luckily there's Skype!

Now I'll tell you something about the collage above. From left to right:
On the Great Wall during my exchange to China - With my grandparents and cousins - Playing guitar
My job at a restaurant - With my parents and sister - Interviewing Tess Milne 
In Oman with some local people - An old picture with my sister - During a theatre play

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Hi everyone,
Welcome to my blog! Next year I'm going to do a High School exchange year in the USA with the organization EF. With this blog I want to keep everyone up to date about the preparations and my exchange year itself. I'll post pictures and compare the USA to the Netherlands. If you have any questions or want to read something special, please leave a comment! And if you want to receive an email when I post something on my blog you can subscribe on the right.

I hope you will enjoy my blog and be a part of my year!