YES Programs



Cultural Connections: Muhammed Amir’s Journey

Muhammed with Host Family on Thanksgiving.

By Muhammad Amir (YES 2023-2024, Pakistan, placed by AFS-USA in Evansville, WI)

Hi everyone, my name is Amir, and I'm an exchange student from Pakistan. As a young student in Pakistan, I always had a deep curiosity about the world beyond my own borders. So when the opportunity arose to participate in the YES program, I knew it was a chance I couldn't pass up. The YES program offered not just an exchange to America but a gateway to cultural exchange and personal growth.

Muhammed with Host Family in Chicago.

I was motivated by the desire to experience new cultures and forge new relationships, leading me on the journey to become an exchange student in the United States. When I arrived in America, I was welcomed with open arms by my host family. Living with them provided me with invaluable insights into American culture, from their traditions and customs to their way of life. Through daily interactions and shared experiences, I began to understand the nuances of American society in a way that exceeded textbooks and lectures.

One of the most enlightening aspects of my exchange experience was learning about my host family and community. From their warmth and hospitality to their diverse backgrounds and perspectives, I discovered the richness of American society firsthand. In return, I eagerly shared aspects of my Pakistani heritage with them, whether it was through sharing stories of my homeland or celebrating cultural festivals together. Differences in food were also an interesting topic among us.

Muhammed in a Wrestling Match.

Among the multitude of experiences during my exchange year, there are so many things I'm loving! Each experience holds its own uniqueness. Overall, my best experiences on the program have been living with my host family and studying in my host school. These are the things that have made everything full of surprises and full of the best experiences.

Throughout my program, I encountered many surprises, from cultural quirks to unexpected friendships. Yet, what surprised me the most was the genuine kindness and openness of the people I met. Despite our differences, I found common ground with my American peers, forging connections that transcended borders and bridged cultures.