Fall Fun

As summer bids adieu and the vibrant colors of fall paint the landscape, there’s an undeniable magic that sweeps across the United States. For Global UGRADs, this season brings forth a variety of experiences unlike any other. The crisp air, the rustling leaves, and the pumpkin-spiced everything create an unforgettable immersion into the cultural richness of autumn in the United States.

Muylin Saing and her host family prepare to carve pumpkins

One of the most iconic aspects of fall in the United States is undoubtedly the tradition of apple and pumpkin picking. For UGRAD students, the chance to visit local orchards and pumpkin patches is a cherished introduction to U.S. culture. The joy of selecting the perfect pumpkin or plucking ripe apples straight from the trees creates lasting memories and opportunities to bond with friends and locals. Muylin Saing, from Cambodia, who is studying at Grand Valley State University, shared, “We did a pumpkin carving and pizza night with my American host family! Another item checked off my bucket list. I had the chance to pick my own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch as well! The children invited their friends over and we had a lot of laughs debating whether one of the pumpkins looked more like Ed Sheeran or Voldemort. I’m so grateful for their kindness! Grandma from the host family baked us a lovely apple pie and even baked a mini one for me to take home.”

Johan Lopez enjoying Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa

The United States, renowned for its diverse landscapes, culture, and seasons, offers Global UGRADs a vibrant experience of autumn. As the air becomes crisp, leaves transition from vibrant greens to a breathtaking mix of reds, oranges, and yellows. For those arriving from countries where seasonal changes may not be as pronounced, fall in the United States becomes a captivating journey into the beautiful colors of nature. Johan Lopez, from Venezuela, who attends the University of Northern Iowa advertised this experience fittingly by sharing, “Want to see the beautiful fall colors before they disappear? Go for a hike in Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor, Iowa. There, you will fall in love with the stunning display of yellow and orange that the trees show.”

Mcaine Andrei Carlos visiting the Cider Mill with his host family

Global UGRADs truly embrace the essence of fall, a season that not only marks a transition in nature but also in their lives, by fostering a deeper connection to their temporary home away from home. Mcaine Andrei Carlos, from the Philippines, who is studying at Emporia State University, expresses “The Philippines, being a tropical country located on the equator, has two seasons: rainy and dry. Since I had never experienced fall before, spending a day at the Cider Mill in Louisburg, Kansas, with my host family became a core memory for me. If there’s one thing that we Filipinos value the most, it’s family. In the Philippines, my only family was my mother, who raised me singlehandedly. So, having a host family, even one as large as this, while being 8,000 miles away from home made it easier for me to adapt to new seasons like fall. In this whirlwind of change, I find comfort in the grace of experiencing these new seasons, and the unwavering blessing of family, even in the midst of homesickness and longing for home.”