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All Thanks to YES

Jana In Dc

By Jana Altahleh (YES 2019-2020, Jordan, hosted by ACES in Redbluff, CA) 

Being a YES student this year was an incredible experience. We traveled across seas to be youth ambassadors, not only for our countries, but also our culture and religion. I am very thankful to my host family for making me feel at home as if I was their own daughter. After nine months of unforgettable memories, I already miss them. I am also very grateful for my American friends for being very welcoming and understanding. They even promised to come visit me in Jordan one day! 

Jana And Friend

My high school gave me an outstanding experience too. I was a homecoming princess during spirit week, and I participated in lunch time activities which were so fun! At the end of the week there was a school parade in town, and everyone was waving and cheering. It will always be a great memory for me to cherish. After the ceremony I was presented in front of the school as homecoming princess - it was awesome!

Jana At Homecoming

I was also enrolled in student government too. I helped plan school dances and other activities where I practiced my leadership skills like conferences and fundraisers. I also participated in Civic Education Week (CEW) where I had a blast learning about American history and government. What made it even more special was getting to meet all those amazing YES students who I'm sure will be my friends forever.

I'll never be about thankful my great teachers enough for always being so understanding and supportive. As this year comes to an early end, we alumni should stay optimistic and figure out ways to give back to our communities. Going through a pandemic during our exchange year made us realize how important to remain positive in all times. I congratulate all my fellow yes students for a successful year.

Read about Jana's YES year during International Education Week here!


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How did your YES experience change you? What have you learned about yourself, the U.S. and the world?

Check out this month's story prompt at bit.ly/YESstorywriting and submit your story!