How to Enjoy Halloween as an ICES Exchange Student!
As a melting pot, the United States has numerous festivals and celebrations, and if you are an exchange student, with an open mind, it is very likely that you will find yourself emerging into the multinational celebration. For many international students these events present experiences that may change the students’ lives and mindsets forever.
Among the most anticipated celebrations in the States is Halloween, a festival with an extensive history that evolves around the spirits of the deceased. It is celebrated on October 31. The name “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows Eve”, or the day before All Saints Day, a traditional holy day for Christians. According to the tradition, the spirits of the dead were able to come back to life to harm people and crops in the physical world.
People tried to appease the spirits on Halloween and these practices led to many of today’s Halloween traditions. For example, people used to wear monster and ghost costumes to scare away harmful spirits. However, today people dress up like popular celebrities, characters, superheroes, etc. After dressing up, kids go trick-or-treating: go from house to house in their neighborhood and ask for treats such as candies and snacks by saying “Trick or treat!”
Just last week, the exchange students from ICES Cambodia underwent authentic experiences with their first Halloween, and they turned out to be their unforgettable ‘’spooky” memories.
Chealeang Ear, who is now attending Oklahoma’s Mustang High School, got to experience her first Halloween. This fall is a joyful season of her life, given that she had returned from a thrilling trip in Orlando with her host family a weeks ago.
“This was my first proper Halloween,” Chealeang said, adding that it was disparate from the celebration in Cambodia, in which the main activity when she was a child was visiting a simulated haunted house.
‘’I went to my church friend’s house, got dressed in my costume, and walked on 2-3 blocks to go trick-or-treating. I got a lot of candies.”
Meanwhile, Chealeang’s host mother, Gina Watts, was delighted to introduce Chealeang to the American tradition.
“Halloween was fun and it was a great opportunity to have Chealeang do something she hasn’t done before. She is very studious and she is very much used to being with the family the most,” Gina said.
“It is a very good chance for us to have a student here like her.”
Also on this year’s Halloween, Rathreacheany Samat, also from ICES Cambodia, was also enjoying the spookiest time of the year with her host family in Grant County, Wisconsin. She saw it as another lovely story to tell about her exchange year—after being part of Homecoming at Fennimore High School, where she is spending her exchange year.
“For Halloween, I tried pumpkin carving at my friend Olivia’s house,” she said.
“I didn’t go trick-or-treating but I gave out candies to small children in the neighborhood. They were adorable in their costumes.”
“On the weekend, I spent time with my host family at an adventure park called Wisconsin Dells. We had fun in the arcades, went swimming at the water park and played laser tag.”
Joining different festivals and celebrations is a definite perk which comes with a student exchange program –in addition to many others such as improving one’s English language skill and gaining unique academic experience. And you can do it, too. Signed for the exchange program with ICES Cambodia and go on a thrilling adventure overseas right now!
For more information on how you can high school abroad with ICES Cambodia, as well as the program fees and application process, please contact 077 777 244 or 098 686 901. To be eligible, you must pass the English Proficiency Test provided by ICES Cambodia and have a good academic record (Average “C” in main subjects for the past 3 years). Register now to take the English Test: https://forms.gle/3qifKLu79f4hx5uB7 .