YES Programs



Adapting Across Borders: A Poem of Exchange and Discovery

Picture of Ryan and students in a group circle in the woods.

By Ryan Cooper (YES 2022-2023, Liberia, placed by Ayusa in San Antonio, TX)

Throughout my exchange year, I had numerous meaningful experiences. Upon my return, I wrote a comprehensive poem encapsulating my year and performed spoken word during the YES anniversary in Liberia. This poem delves into my personal journey, marked by expectations, cultural understanding, and fitting in.

Echoes of a Year Abroad: A Poetic Tale

Midair I perceive the crest of the waves afar,

This experience I dare not to toss like brass,

For the sentiments of it I would not shrivel

If thus, my heart does not wiggle.

A moment budded to dust unlikely:

I care not to furrow my bliss most likely,

For a stranger man like me must face

A terrible time I peer each dazzling day.

An exotic country many would trade for claims

To inhale the aroma of barleys, porridge, and beans.

A deep Southwestern vernal lad like me

Who they reckon knows nothing but slumber and meat,

Trusts to unearth what fate so long a feat.

Time so tells the story, unraveled

Of how boredom caressed my chest into shuttle And awakened the bulwark of fright

As yet to acquaint oneself day and night.

Whilst scuffles flare my head,

Adaptation is lame, and is cradled by threats.

A wonderland filled with fine fairytales;

A wonderland I soon realized had slews of water mills.

Though while incursive malady may beset me, Dormancy vagues the mien thus to let me be Obscene from school in the overlooks.

For I ought to lie intimately with the books;

I ought to burn candlesticks by the brooks.

Faint screams from yonder shudder another’s ear: A call that bechances be a service call so dear

To culture society for the gay morrow.

Only if my soul can spiel the moment

I playfully cuddled with delight and condiment

My lenses would hence rattle the colorful scenes.

Joy till I behold the end of the beginning,

Joy till no joy to beleaguer——

Delightful daisies I trod past on a gardeny quest—— The childish couple downhill——

I watch them blabber over,

As my comrades would accompany me laugh.

This thing I must not have a resort of crass,

For mid year’s pleasure was a grasp

Of the systemic——

The freedom finally whistled through;

It blossomed into socialism,

And inspired the atmosphere of witticism.

A gentle stride in the park

I label the mid year expedition;

A comfortable environment I reckon.

Unbeautiful silences are expelled;

Boredom is stomped and dispelled.

Freedom to roam and explore freely,

Freedom to befriend profusely.

Not too long before departure arrives,

I sensationalize dolefulness arise,

While I know I will miss days——best moments