YES Programs



A Journey of Self-Discovery

Abbiramyy with her host siblings in front of a sign saying Greetings from Silver Lake, Kansas

By Abbiramyy Subramanian (YES 2022-2023, Malaysia, placed by AYA in Silver Lake, KS)

My name is Abbiramyy Subramanian and I was one of 35 students from Malaysia selected to go on the YES program. Because of our education system, Malaysian students are only able to go to the U.S. for one semester. Before I arrived in the US, I thought going abroad for 6 months was a long time, let alone for a year, but now that it’s all over, I realize my time in America was super short!

Abbiramyy in a group photo with the 35 Malaysian YES students

Coming back home and reflecting on my time in the U.S., I realized I took so many things for granted. At first, it was really hard to fit in and feel like I belonged, but over time, I gained so many friends in Kansas whom now I’m fortunate to call my best friends, and I’ve learnt so many things. Everyone in Silver Lake welcomed me like their own. I got out of my comfort zone and tried so many things I would’ve never done -- from cooking my home food to snowboarding for the very first time. I even learned way more about my own culture whilst sharing it with my host family and friends, which was super cool.

Abbiramyy sitting on the steps in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

I also did 200+ volunteer hours during my exchange year, and that’s how I came to realize how passionate I am about volunteering and how I don’t want to stop giving back to society. I think this programme was exactly what I needed in life because it helped me get to know who I really am. Thanks to my host parents and friends, I now have two places I can call home, and I’ll forever be grateful. No words will ever be enough to explain how grateful I am that I received this opportunity. Now, as a YES alum, I don’t plan to stop doing my part to change the world. I believe now, more than ever, I’m capable to do my part in making the world a better place.