YES Programs



An Uplifting Exchange Year

Wassy standing next to Mr. Loffler and a plane

By Wassy Tahsan (YES 2023-2024, Bangladesh, placed by Ayusa in Minnestrista, Minnesota)

My exchange year taught me countless life lessons and boosted me with confidence in my ability to make things happen. From learning about what it’s like to be a pilot, to teaching my friends at school how to play cricket, and finally to being the unofficial face of "promposals" in my school--my year was really uplifting.

My first memorable, uplifting moment was learning what it was like to be a pilot with Mr. Loffler. Mr. Loffler heard about me because I had mentioned that I wanted to be a pilot to my host mom, and so he invited me to a private pilot training institute in Eden Praire, Minnesota. The most interesting thing I learned there was that you can get a pilot’s license without a college degree with more flying hours. I learned a lot about the pilot profession on that trip.

Wassy and his cricket team in a gym

My second uplifting moment from my exchange year was teaching cricket to my friends. Teaching cricket was really fun. Cricket is both similar and different from baseball because you hit a ball with a bat, but the rules and procedures are really different. To teach my friends this game I gathered some of the best athletes in the school from different sports, and they learned the game quicker than I expected. I did one introduction session, and the next week we played a game. After the game, I got a shoutout in the school’s morning show and won the Global Youth Service Month contest. The most gratifying part of teaching my friends cricket was enjoying playing a sport that is completely new to them that I grew up playing!

Wassy and his prom date with a poster

My final uplifting moment was being the unofficial "face" of promposals. This all started because I was at lunch with some friends, and they were talking about making prom posters for their dates. Making prom posters was new and interesting to me, and I wanted to do it for my date. So, I took it upon myself and did a prom poster for a girl I wanted to take to prom. I ended up getting a feature in the yearbook for it!

In conclusion, I’d like to thank the YES Program, my host family, the AYUSA Staff, my teachers and friends, and everyone who supported me throughout the nine months of the exchange year.