Coming to a new country can be disorienting. Arriving on a national holiday can be even more confounding.
This year, however, Tarrytown's EF School hosted the Summer EFest – a celebration for new students and a crash course in Americana.
"We have a lot of kitschy things," said Samantha Hellwege, EF School Activities Coordinator. "It's a compilation of American pastimes; the things we like to do to celebrate the Fourth"
The event was a primer for new arrivals and a chance for students to meet for the first time on the school's soccer field.
Students filled up on the traditional Fourth of July fare: grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, cookies and more. For entertainment there were sack races, egg tosses, a water balloon fight and plenty of dance music.
As the evening set in, the festivities calmed down as fireworks began going off across the Hudson Valley.
Over 500 students arrived at the English-language school over the weekend. Most of the new students will stay for the summer months to immerse themselves in the English language. Many were excited to have their first few days in America spent enjoying Independence Day.
"I'm glad to be here in the summer time and to see the fireworks and celebration," said Elvin Kingsley, a Switzerland native who helped coordinate the event. "It's very patriotic."