YES Programs



A Two-Way Street

Sanad with a large group of other students

By: Sanad Saad (YES 2018-2019, Libya, placed by AFS-USA in Greensburg, PA)

Sanad, a Muslim Libyan exchange student, arrived in Greensburg with a heart full of excitement and curiosity. He was determined to immerse himself in the American culture and make the most of his year at his host school. However, he couldn't help but feel a tinge of apprehension about being accepted and understood in a foreign land.

On his first day, he nervously entered the school. To his surprise, his classmates greeted him warmly and showed genuine interest in his background. They eagerly asked questions about Libya, Islam, and his experiences. Sanad was thrilled to share his culture and dispel any misconceptions.

Over time, Sanad formed meaningful friendships with students from all walks of life. They invited him to their homes, celebrated cultural festivals together, and even attended Friday prayers at the local mosque. The school administration and teachers were incredibly supportive, ensuring Sanad felt welcome and respected. Sanad’s presence fostered an atmosphere of inclusivity and acceptance at his school. His classmates learned about diversity, breaking down stereotypes and prejudices. The cultural exchange was a two-way street, as Sanad embraced American customs, traditions, and even became an active member of the school's soccer team.

As the end of the school year approached, Sanad's peers organized a farewell party to honor his time in Greensburg. Tears of joy flowed freely as they reminisced about their shared experiences. Sanad realized he touched the lives of many, and they left an indelible mark on his heart. With newfound confidence, Sanad returned to Libya, carrying with him a treasure trove of memories and friendships that would last a lifetime. His year in Pennsylvania had not only been a personal triumph but a testament to the power of acceptance, understanding, and unity across cultures.