When my family travels, we always try to eat at restaurants that locals like. We try to avoid chains and to try new foods that may seem weird to us, but are common among locals in the area we are visiting. Many foreign exchange students at colleges across the world go into their exchange experience with this same mindset.

I am always interested in what American foods foreign exchange students find weird or gross. As a student in one of the foodiest cities in America, I have chosen 7 meals in Charlottesville that all foreign exchange students at the University of Virginia should try during their time here.

1. Fried Chicken and Waffles at Fig

It can't get more American than this. Fried meat, refined sugars and carbs. While this may initially sound vomit-inducing to a foreigner, the two tend to go together very well...

The sweetness of the syrup successfully complements the saltiness of the chicken, and the combination doesn't taste much different than combining bacon and pancakes. Even if this doesn't initially tickle your fancy, give it a try because as Drake says, YOLO.

2. Boylan Burger at Boylan Heights

True, hamburgers may have originated in Germany, but America does the burger toppings best. Boylan offers an array of burgers that are topped with everything from pulled pork to guacamole.

And if our American portion size intimidates you, do not worry. Boylan values the quality of their burgers over the size. This can be rare in America, so cherish it while you can. Don't forget to order sweet potato fries as your side -- and maybe a Slippery Wahoo to drink.

3. Arch's Frozen Yogurt

Where else in the world can you get brownie batter as a topping on your fro-yo? I have never seen this as a topping in America, let alone in other countries. Go get yourself some Arch's frozen yogurt on a Tuesday when it is $5 (well, actually with tax, $5.47—I know from experience) to fill up your cup with as much fro yo and toppings as you can.

Even though my mom told me when I went to college that food would not be the answer to my problems, Arch's proves her wrong every time. Having a hard day? Go get some Arch's. Having a good day? Go celebrate with some Arch's.

4. Bold Rock Hard Cider

Do not leave UVA thinking that all Americans drink in college are Natty Lite, Busch Light and Kirkland brand beer. Bold Rock is refreshing and thirst quenching and it is manufactured in Virginia, so take advantage of it while you can.

5. Mac n' Cheese at the Virginian

This is truly my favorite meal in Charlottesville. As a lover of mac n' cheese, I have very high standards that I hold all mac n' cheeses to. The Virginian's stands above all the rest as truly the best mac n' cheese I have ever had.

What makes this dish stand above its competitors is the fried potato cake that tops it. This dish is the perfect mix between potatoes au gratin and mac n' cheese and is a must-try dish in Charlottesville. Think about getting it as a side to the chicken caesar wrap or the club sandwich.

6. Spinach and Artichoke Dip at Trinity

salsa, corn, tortilla chips, guacamole, salt, chips, nachos, jalapeno
Zoe Denenberg

Get a group of friends together and head over to Trinity Irish Pub on a Thursday for a $3 hamburger and some spinach and artichoke dip. Or, enjoy with a Bold Rock and some friends. I promise you will feel like a real UVA student while your sitting on the patio enjoy this mouth watering dip and a drink.

7. Take It Away Sandwich Shop

sandwich, hummus, wheat, bread
Bridget Muckian

Whatever you do, order house dressing on your sandwich here. The unique toppings Take It Away offers, especially the house dressing, make their sandwiches my favorite in Charlottesville. I recommend the turkey and cheddar on sourdough with arugula, tomatoes and house dressing. While you're at it, get a s'mores cookie as well.

As a foreign exchange student, you may be here to study and learn, but make sure to take advantage of all the food opportunities in Charlottesville during your time in the States. Occasionally, put down the books and take your pick of these awesome C-ville specialty items to try.