By Caren Abi Chahine (YES 2021–2022, Lebanon, placed by AFS in Palmyra, WI)
When I came to the United States, a country much bigger than my own, my goal was to see a big city at least once during my exchange year. Since it’s only two hours away from my host community, I got to visit Chicago with my host family. So far, my day in Chicago is one of the most exciting memories of being on the YES program! There were so many places to see and so much to do, but I only had one day to make the most of it.
I saw the Willis Tower and got to view the Chicago skyline at night. I saw the Cloud Gate and all the funny reflections in its bean-like structure! I went to Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Art Institute, and I also got to see a stadium. The biggest highlight was seeing the Museum of Science and Industry, which had so much information about U.S. history. Much to my fascination, the Apollo 8 Spacecraft was on display! Seeing the real space equipment was amazing, as I imagined the actual astronauts who were inside as they traveled through outer space. Learning about outer space is a hobby for me, so I always enjoy researching this topic and hearing what others have to say.
When walking along the streets, I noticed so many different restaurants from other countries, including my own: a restaurant called “Taste of Lebanon”. I also got to try Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. The buildings were so impressive and tall and at night everything was lit up — even the city trees have lights on them. It was a very great experience that I’ll never forget!