YES Programs



Halfway through YES

Imen And First Snow

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. 

Imen Iew

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 Hsiblings

Imen and her Host Siblings!


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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