By Imen Aouadi (YES 2019 – 2020, Tunisia, hosted by World Link in Belleville, IL)
It is already December, time flew by fast! I didn’t even realize that I am already half way finished. The first half of my exchange year was full of unforgettable new experiences. I still remember the moment when I landed in the United States, and the feelings I had at that moment like happiness, excitement, stress, and fear. I was ready to begin a new chapter in life.
My first day at school was the best. At first I was stressed about making friends, but suddenly I found myself making new ones every day. Homecoming week gave me the chance to be a part of a team and we played in our “school olympics.” I saw snow for the first time in my life, and I was fascinated by it's beauty – it was amazing! As the experience continued, it was time for my first Halloween! I got the opportunity to go ‘trick or treating’ for the first time, and since my costume didn't come on time, I wore my traditional clothes and flag instead.
Time kept moving and I found myself preparing for International Education Week (IEW). This week was the perfect chance to introduce people to my home country of Tunisia. I gave about 20 presentations for more than 700 people who were highly interested in learning more about my culture. During IEW, I wore my traditional clothes, taught my language, and gave gifts that I brought from Tunisia.
Then, Thanksgiving came with its food and family reunions. I cooked several Tunisian dishes that my host family liked, and I enjoyed learning more about American culture and eating traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I am satisfied about how my year is going so far, and I am sure that the best is yet to come. Most importantly, I am grateful for the numerous experiences that I got the chance to live. I want to thank the YES Program for everything.
Imen and her Host Siblings!