YES Programs



Embracing the New

Egy Manr Abd El Aziz Iris First Snow

by Manr Abd El Aziz (YES 2018-2019, Egypt, hosted by IRIS in Osage, IA)

Since I'm a YES student, I decided to say "yes" to anything new and good for me! I decided to start my year with the cross-country season in Osage, Iowa, where I'm placed, and it was absolutely awesome and hard too! Then when the season was over I decided to join cheerleading, because it might be the only opportunity I'd have to try it. However I was worried about what I was going to wear, since I wear hijab, so I talked to the coach and she had no problem with my wearing whatever makes me comfortable. Now sadly the season is over so right now I am going for track and field, I am singing in choir for the first time in my life and I discuss political issues with my friends in the Model UN Club.

Egy Manr Abd El Aziz Iris Cheerleading

The YES exchange year will be over soon but I gained a lot of knowledge and I had a lot of experiences. This year is life changing for every exchange student; it makes you grow up a lot, it opens your mind and your eyes to the world around you, it helps you to build long-lasting relationships and makes the world a smaller place.


Tell us what cultural exchange means to you and why you think it is important!

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit your story!

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