By Sakibul Noyon (YES 2018-19, Bangladesh, hosted by BFF in Fort Collins, CO)
Life is too fast to imagine. You never know when, where, and how life will surprise you. I never thought that I would be the son of two families. But YES has made me say ''Yes! I have become a son of two families apart from each other with a distance of almost 8,000 miles and exact 12 hours of difference”. At 8:00 pm in Bangladesh before my exchange year, I used to have dinner with my natural family and 2 hours later, I would go to bed. But during my exchange year, when it was 8:00 pm in Bangladesh, I was about to start my school days at that time because there it's 8:00 am instead 8:00 pm.
I have experienced thousands of unexpected moments which have made me stronger have helped me realize who I actually am. This is because I grew a lot and learned a lot during my exchange year. Now, whenever those days peep in my mind, I laugh and say to myself, "How silly was I!".
Every YES student says "My life was amazing during my YES year". But I would say that my life was more than amazing and that it cannot be described in words. I cannot say "Thank You" enough to my host family, teachers at school, People at the mosque and all the amazing people in Fort Collins who showed me their best hospitality possible. My host mom and dad were the people closest to me. They were ready to do everything to make me feel welcome and happy in their family. My host dad Bradley Charles was always there to check on me even in the middle of the night if I needed anything. And my host mom was the source of fun and entertainment. No one else has the same capability to break the ice in a cold environment than her. Their love and affection was more than what I expected. And my two younger host brothers were so playful that the whole house would become a place to the fun as long as they are awake.
The school was another part of my life. All the teachers at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School were those who would show me their love and affection to the end of the world. Even though I would say to my chemistry teacher Randy Walters, “That homework is impossible for me to solve,'' he would say, "Say I'm possible". I have done lots of tough assignments with his and other teachers' support and help.
At the Islamic Center in Fort Collins, I got to learn about my own culture from a different perspective and learn about being Muslim in different countries. I was very close to the president of the mosque as well and we would often play sports together.
Overall all those people and places were the source of my learning and growing throughout my exchange year. I just want to thank the YES Program for sending me home with millions of memories of an incredible experience.