YES Programs



A Message for Exchange Students


YES alumni write a letter congratulating and encouraging the 2018-2019 YES students!.

By Marcus Mesherky (YES 2017-2018, Israel Arab Communities, hosted by Ayusa in Amity, OR) and Nour Ali (YES 2017-2018, Bahrain, hosted by Ayusa in Buckley, WA)

Dear Exchange Student, 

I want to start by congratulating you for making it, give yourself a pat on the back, because you just started one of the biggest steps in your life, all that hard work, the tests, the interviews, and orientations have finally paid off and you are finally where you've wanted to be for the past months and specifically when you first sent that application.

Being an exchange student is such an honor, but it is also a privilege that you earned by yourself, and you should never take that for granted. You will have an absolutely phenomenal experience, I can guarantee that, and now you officially became an ambassador for not just your country, but for your home and culture.

Someone you meet may have never met a foreigner or know anything about where you come from, you are there to teach those kind of people and enlighten them and to build bridges of understanding and tolerance between your country and the U.S. by helping spread a better understanding of your own culture and breaking those stereotypes.

Your experience is so unique and you are so lucky to be having it, not any normal high school student could have this kind of experience. And most people in the world dream of being where you are stepping foot at!

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Co-author Nour Ali from Bahrain

I’m sure by now you know what to do, you know what exchange students do and their influence on everyone around them, and around yourself in your own host community.

Don’t forget that in the times where you don’t feel well or homesick, you have so many people you could talk to in the states that would never hesitate to show their support to you. Also so many alumni back home are willing to talk because they all went through everything you are going through right now, all the exciting and not so-exciting emotions, and those ups and downs, It is normal and it happens to everyone, so don’t let it set you back, because it’s just a bump on the road.

I would like to conclude with that I wish you all the luck in the world,I hope that you will achieve success and make the cultural difference someone might need in their life, for you are a vessel for your community and that you will have a great study year in the U.S.!!


What advice do you have for the 2019-2020 YES students? 

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit YOUR story for the new #KLYES cohort!

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