YES Programs



Exchange is a Life in a Year

Riwa And Cute Dog

By: Riwa Hassan (YES 2019 – 2020, Lebanon, hosted by Ayusa in Weymouth, MA)

Hi, I am Riwa Hassan from Lebanon, placed in Massachusetts! It hit me hard that nearly five months have passed, and we are already halfway through our exchange year. It really feels like yesterday that my journey first began. It all started with an application and ended with a life changing experience. 

Riwa Downtown

My journey began in Washington, DC which was a blast. I got to meet people from different countries, which I think is vital for everyone to do. Exchange is the best thing you can do to your life, but I can tell you that it is not easy. During your exchange year, you pass through tough time filled with , homesickness and loneliness. However on the bright side, you learn to be more responsible, independent, and self-confident during this adjustment period. I would advise everyone who is struggling to create friendships, to be open and get out of your comfort zone, even though it’s tough in the beginning. Honestly, this lesson was so hard for me, because it’s harder for me to approach people on my own, but I learned how through my exchange experience. 

My lifestyle has changed a lot, but it is not better, or worse - it is just different. I met a lot of people who I already know that I will miss when I go back home. People usually wonder how you can leave your life in your home country and go to a totally new place. I can assure you it is harder to leave your host country, because when you leave your home you know you are coming back. On the other hand, you never know if you can come back to your host country. Exchange is a life you create in a year. Make it worth the experience!