YES Programs



Harmony Across Borders

Student poses with host mom and friend

By Fatima Zaheer (YES 2023-2024, Pakistan, placed by AFS in Lee's Summit, MO)

One of my first huge American experiences since I came to the United States was going to a concert with my host mom. This incredible experience was one of the best things that ever happened to me, and also it made me see the true American spirit in people here.

My heart was beating so fast with excitement as I entered the big stadium. I could practically feel the excitement and happiness of people passing by me. The vibrant colors of Ed’s Mathematics Tour shined from miles away, the lights making the atmosphere truly awe-inspiring.

Back home, I had never been to such a concert before, and I’m so glad my host family made that happen.

Crowded stadium at sunset

As the concert started, I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins as the stadium echoed with sound. I was awed by how everybody there enjoyed the moment together even though they didn't know each other. One of the most adorable things at the concert was the gender reveal that Ed Sheeran did! Later, as the stadium sang “I Don’t Care” together, I could feel the language barrier slide away, making my heart swell with happiness.

We also tailgated before the concert, which was also quite a new thing for me. When the final notes were echoing in the air, I realized how this experience will stay with me forever, and my eyes shined with joy as I thanked my host mom for this truly unforgettable evening.

This experience made me realize how events like these help us lessen the cultural divides. At night, when I reminisced about this experience, I realized that I became part of something bigger than my YES family - a global community that likes to enjoy the moment for what it is. As I slept that night, I knew this was just the beginning of my diverse journey in America.