Asia Hayes


Hometown:Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
School: St. Augustine High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club:St. Augustine, Florida
Host District: District 4845
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Puerto Iguazu Cataratas


My Bio

¡Hola! My name is Asia Hayes and next year I will be going on exchange to Argentina and I couldn’t be happier! The Big Reveal Ceremony was an assortment of emotions that lasted until my name was called, I then introduced myself in octaves I didn’t know I could produce. When the rebound student reached for the Argentinean flag I was ecstatic, and compelled to do a jig in response to all of the emotion. Argentina was my number one choice. As a sophomore I had the opportunity to go to Costa Rica with my class and fell in love with the language, I’m studying my fourth year of Spanish and can’t wait to put it to use. I am currently a senior at St. Augustine High School in the town of St. Augustine. I moved here 3 years ago from Arizona and it has grown on me, not to mention I have become quite the food connoisseur due to the convenience of downtown being only 10 minutes away from home. I live with my mom, dad and older sister Amaris who is currently on exchange in Brazil, along with my little buddy Max, our 10 year old beagle who is my greatest pal. I am very involved at school, I was elected as a senior class officer, am a part of the Swim and Tennis team as well as the AICE program. I am very easy going and love to laugh and have fun. I am so grateful to be a part of this program and thankful for the opportunity that has been granted to me, along with being placed in my dream country. I cannot wait for my journey to begin, because I know the next few years will be jam packed with oodles of fun and excitement.

Parana River

Parana River



The Neighboorhood

The Neighboorhood

5th and 4th Grade Class

5th and 4th Grade Class



Journals: Asia - Argentina

  • Asia, outbound to Argentina

    Ok so apologizes are officially in order. SORRY, SORYY I have fallen off the grid. With that being said you are about to embark on a 2 month journey of my life in words. For starters, if you are going to South America learn to dance…please it will save you many nights sitting in the room of your new house you-tubing how to do a basic two-step. In all honesty I thought at the bare minimum had rhythm, that notion quickly disappeared when I realized what I was dealing with. Like guys words really cannot express the artistic level they are on. So just try to put some effort I feel it’s less shameful if you practice before you leave. No, but in all honesty if you act like you know how to dance and you are having fun no one will ever know that 7/10 of your dance moves were taken from you tube.

    Future Floridians to become culturally Argentine you will inadvertently become a meat connoisseur. Prepare to eat any and all parts of a cow. I say this in all sincerity any…and all parts. I have fully enjoyed this part of my Argentine life because I have learned a new skill that I like to call “meat-jargon” I mean how many people do you know who can describe meat to you other than a butcher. How many of you even know a butcher to explain those things because I know I don’t. But I will say being vegetarian is a strong possibility for my future because I have just felt really carnivorous lately if that even makes sense. But trust me you will see.

    Since the end of November I have been on summer vacation and I will say the time has gone by so incredibly fast. Which is so scary, in reality I don’t think I have ever been so scared of time. I don’t want anything here to end and I cannot even start to imagine going back to the United States at this point. This may be one of the most meaningful summers I have had thus far. I thought it would be the one before my exchange year you know, the summer where I knew I was saying bye to my old life and preparing to enter a new one but with this summer coming to a close I realize it’s now in this moment where I have decided that things really aren’t always as they seem and it’s in this phase of my life that I have really just gotten to sit back and live doing things that I normally wouldn’t and just letting go a little bit. Or a lot a bit.

    But you know you really cannot describe exactly what it is you feel because it isn’t like you come on exchange and everything is there for you. You leave your troubles of the U.S. behind but you take on a new set of troubles. You’re not living in la-la land on exchange it may seem like it at first but then you actually have to start dealing with life again just like always only this time you have new things to overcome and new things to think about and I think it’s that that makes your exchange you are learning to just deal with life from every possible angle. But you do start to notice it like the changes in yourself, you start to see that you’re getting better, you're opening up and you're taking in everything there is to learn.

    During this summer I cried for the first time during my exchange. And when I say cry it’s not like my tearing up during New Year’s Eve. This was a full on 12hr cry that began at night and carried into the morning and a much needed one to be honest. Like many have said exchange isn’t easy. I can’t speak for every one currently on exchange right now but I know for me I had just gotten to a point where I needed to just cry. And afterwards I did feel better it was kind of like my reset. Like I started to feel like okay it’s time for me to make some changes and to just get the show on the road I guess you could say. And lucky for me because I have an amazing family here that helps me through it all.

    Like words cannot describe the gratitude I have for them and it’s amazing how you can go your whole life not knowing that a group of people exist that you could care so much about. They have a permanent spot in my heart and I could not be happier to end up in this home. Every member has such a different personality and they come together so perfectly and I can honestly say I couldn’t imagine my life without them in it because they are the biggest reason my exchange has been the best time of my life.

    This coming Monday I will be back in school. There really isn’t much to say on the subject because well it's school. But I am so incredibly excited to go back to the primary school to help with English! I have so much fun there and I can’t wait for the next five months with those kiddos. Well I think I have touched on all the monumental thoughts and moments during this summer. So until next time guys. Chau Chau!

    Asia Monet Hayes
    (P.S. sorry for my lack of photos for I am a wreck and have managed to break every source of uploading photos I will try to fix ASAP)

  • Asia, outbound to Argentina

    Wow okay so four months in “The Tina” and good news guys I’m still happy! It’s weird because I can feel the half way mark creeping up on me and I’m not sure if I’m ready for those emails of returning home. And the thought of Argentine empanadas coming to an end almost puts me into tears. But I haven’t gotten any emails so I still have time to gorge myself on this delicacy.

    Every time I think of writing my journal I say okay to mention empanadas or not to mention empanadas but like I just can’t help it they are SO good on a slow week I consume at least 12. Yes, I know. I am ashamed and embarrassed but there are no support groups for this addiction. But it’s not just the empanadas. It’s the ice cream too. I told myself I would not bring bad habits to the Tina but I did! I ate so much so much ice-cream before coming to Argentina and now I do the same here. Like I just wish that the crew at the ice cream shop rotated a little more because now they know my face, every single employee which is equally as embarrassing as my empanada consumption.

    I wish I was exaggerating but it’s gotten to the point where my host family makes jokes about the fact that my diet consist of only two foods and my host dad had a conversation with me about maybe eating other Argentine staples besides empanadas and it’s obviously a problem considering that I have dedicated so much of my journal talking about food. My New Year’s Resolution last year was to not have a Resolution but maybe I should and that will be not mentioning empanadas in my journals anymore. But New Year’s Resolutions are meant to be broken right?

    So I made it to through the holidays. On a scale of 1 to emotional wreck I was about a 3. They really did not phase me too much to be honest. Thanksgiving was spent in Patagonia and I didn’t even realize Thanksgiving had passed until it was Black Friday, Christmas was like a normal day for me along with the whole month of December there were no Christmas tunes, no Santa, and no tree which was a little different for me because usually during Christmas my mom likes to get really HGTV creative with decorations.

    And then there was New Year’s Eve which the whole day I felt a little emotional but I keep saying to myself I’m fine, I’m fine. And then it was midnight and I realized I was not fine and I got a little… a lot teary eyed during fireworks. I’m not sure how much of the tears were from missing home and how much came from being so grateful to be celebrating with my new family.

    Exchange is a really special thing you can’t always put everything into words, and sometimes you can’t even figure out for yourself what your feeling. It’s just like okay here I am doing something that I never really thought could happen and I wonder like was this always written for me because even on my bad days it seems like something right falls into place shortly thereafter. and right now I have gotten to a place where walking in my city is starting to feel less like Stairmaster, the language is coming along, and I can honestly say there is no place I would rather be right now in my life.

    See my full journal: Click HERE

  • Asia, outbound to Argentina

    First and foremost congratulations to the new RYE Florida 2015-2016 Exchange Students! As I have just completed my third month I can honestly say that you will not regret your decision to take on this great challenge and you should be very proud that you have been selected to have this amazing experience. With that being said I want to start this journal with a tid bit of advice based on my experiences thus far:

    Be sure to focus on your own exchange. Each and every exchange is different and unique to each exchanger. When you read these journals of the countries that you may be sent to or when you get further into the process and begin coordinating with one of the current outbound students remember these stories and experiences are unique to that person and you have to live your exchange for you. In my first journal I mentioned that I didn’t have expectations for my exchange but I think I was wrong. No, I didn’t have expectations for my country or the culture but I think I had expectations for my life as an exchange student.

    Here in Iguazu I am the only exchange student so I don’t have that exchange family network that most of us experience which lead to loneliness in the first month and a half and spending a lot of time eating empanadas alone looking at all of my fellow outbound students and their photos and stories and the friends they all seemed to have wondering why I was so alone and why my life didn’t look like theirs and I honestly was just a little down in the dumps. But then at some point I knew I had to put the empanadas down and look at my exchange for me. Here I was, sad and wallowing in my own sorrows when I am living in the most beautiful country in the world minutes away from one of the Seven Wonders of the World and three different cultures to learn about right at my fingertips! I knew I had to turn things around because this is my exchange and it shouldn’t be compared and it can’t be compared to anyone else because this exchange is for me and only me and loneliness is just a waste of time. Once I realized that I was happier because I knew I was living my exchange though I couldn’t get myself to put the empanadas down I am sure it only contributed to my happiness. So guys I cannot press this enough make sure you live this exchange life for you and only you because it’s your experience to have for the rest of your life.

    Now, as for me a mini update
    1. I have become more comfortable butchering every other word in Spanish than speaking in English
    2. My name pronounced in English sounds like the Spanish word for her “Ella” because the double “L” in Argentina makes a “shhh” sound which causes a lot of confusion when people are speaking.
    3. I still love empanadas and facturas
    4. I went from have no host siblings to nine
    5. Once I was introduced as the cousin of Obama, I am not.
    7. Finally saw the Falls
    6. I WENT TO PATAGONIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    Chau Chicos

  • Asia, outbound to Argentina

    One month has passed which seems too soon, but I couldn’t be happier with the way in which my time has been spent.

    Today marks one month in Argentina, and it is absolutely beautiful. It is a big change of pace here, everything is just calm. There is a lot of time for me to just breathe. I surprised myself at how quickly I just morphed into a new routine, despite the obvious language barrier everything just seems the way it is supposed to be. I didn’t experience this huge culture shock or anything near it I mean there are subtle differences in culture yes but, I didn’t skip a beat, When in Rome do as the Romans do.

    I arrived her on the 7th of September and started school on the 8th, so maybe it is just that I did not have time to think about the fact that I had left my life in the United States and I was starting a new one. But, I couldn’t help but think of a conversation I’d had earlier in the summer about the sense of home. I’ve moved a lot within the States and out of the four I have lived in none of them have truly felt like “home”, and maybe I am just trying to find it here, in Argentina so there really was not much motive for me to have any reservations. I just hit the reset button, and arrived here with a completely open mind.

    For the most part I have an established routine. I go to Colegio Argentino Americano where I am in the fifth grade, the equivalent of being a High School Senior. My classmates are all very nice as well as all the students in the school and, I am very glad to be finishing out the school year with them.

    There are about 20 students in my class including myself, a big difference from graduating with a class of about 400. It makes for a different school environment because it seems like everyone is happy to be with one another and because they are such a small group it makes for genuine friendships. Not saying that I wasn’t happy with my classmates last year but, there was no way I was friends with all 300 + of them. Not even close, half.

    My classes are a bit different because they are all business oriented and my Spanish business vocabulary is nonexistent so I am lost. But, I have a Spanish Literature class which is like a breath of fresh air because some of the words are similar to the English and I can almost always figure out the notes without translating. I’m not very shocked that my favorite class in the U.S. continues to be my favorite class even, in a different langue which leads me to Point B.

    Numbers are numbers everywhere and unfortunately that is also a class I understand, on the first day they covered one of the few math topics I actually can comprehend and in excitement I revealed this, I should not have because just as I assumed math is still my least favorite subject.

    After school I have lunch with my host family. It is just myself and my host parents, they have three sons two of which are in College in another province and then one who is currently on exchange in Florida! They are very kind and I am very thankful for them welcoming me into their home. Lunch, and food in general is very good. VERY, VERY good. I could live off of Empanadas and Facturas for the rest of my life but aside from eating a good meal the best part of my day happens after lunch.

    On weekdays from 2-5 I go to the primary school and help teach in two English classes, and it is so much fun, words cannot describe. I can honestly say that the happiest moments I have had so far in my exchange have been in the 5th and 4th grade class of the primary school. Right now they are practicing for their Spring Art Show that’s coming up in the next few weeks and they are doing a play of the movie “Frozen”. And I don’t know but sometimes emotions just sneak up on me at weird moments and the other day when they were practicing I just started to tear up a little. Not because I was homesick or anything but they were just so happy, which in turn made me very happy. Grant it I am a crier, but these were really tears of happiness. The moment also inspired me to maybe finish the movie and appreciate the song “Let it go” a little bit more. I truly am very happy at the school and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be there.

    One month has passed which seems too soon, but I couldn’t be happier with the way in which my time has been spent.

    To all the Floridians in Brazil: Now, I am obviously not in Brazil but, my town is very near the border and. My joking title as “Honorary Brazilian” has manifested itself into my exchange, Brazil, is close enough for me to see the land of Brazil from my backyard. Literally.

    See my bio and photos:


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