By Suleman Khan (YES 2014-2015, Pakistan, placed by PAX in North Judson, IN)
No matter where you land when it comes to your placement time, one should never forget some of the core goals of YES program: making the most out of it, learning to adjust, sharing your culture, and experiencing life in a family not far away from home, but in your new home! Your life with your host family will be something that you will always reflect back on in your life. And it really depends on you regarding how you go about living with your host family. If you're determined, goal-oriented, and flexible, then you will have no difficulty adjusting to your new environment.
I learned a lot from my host family back then when I was placed in Indiana. My host family is composed of very humble and down-to-earth individuals. They always respected my views and together we enjoyed many good times. As a YES student, if you work to make your placement your new home, then your relationship with your host family will stay with you forever. Respect your host parents as you do your own parents and you will see how sweet the world is.
In addition, as YES students, you have the opportunity to share your culture with people in the U.S. One great opportunity to do this is during International Education Week (IEW), which happens every year in November. Exchange students like us are able to use IEW as a solid platform to deliver presentations about our country and our culture. We are therefore able to fulfill some of the most important requirements of this program: exchanging and sharing cultures, breaking down stereotypes, and being an ambassador for our country.
During my YES exchange year in the U.S., when I was placed in Indiana, I gave lots of presentations in my school and at churches, which targeted people of all ages.
It was a very satisfying experience for me because I felt like I was doing something for my country. When you actually start clearing up misconceptions and share with people about your culture and your country, you will no doubt be satisfied with the work that you do.
I encourage all future YES exchange students to give as many educational presentations as you can.