YES Programs



Harmony Across Borders

Eya and her host mom in Tunisian and Pakistai clothes respectively

By: Eya Ammar (YES 2023-2024, Tunisia, placed by Greenheart in Eden Prairie, MN)

When I first arrived in the U.S., I found myself in a unique cultural situation living with a Pakistani host family. Through this experience, I have learned to intertwine Tunisian, American, and Pakistani cultures.

My days in America have been a vibrant mix of experiences. I have shared my Tunisian heritage in my school by speaking to the French club, the Spanish club, the Exchange Students club, and the Youth in Government club. I was also able to lead a Model United Nations conference. I have also joined the cross-country team, where I developed a camaraderie with my teammates and have already logged 92 volunteer hours. In the classroom, I have challenged myself in my honors English and chemistry classes.

Eya and her French teacher holding the Tunisian flag

My host family has enriched my global perspective. We can explore American culture together, and I get to learn about Pakistani culture from them. Enjoying Thanksgiving foods with Pakistani spices is an experience I will never forget! We also get to not only celebrate American holidays, but also Pakistani festivals and events. I have loved engaging in discussions with my host family that span continents, each of us bringing out own unique lens to the world.

In my exchange experience, I am not the only cultural ambassador. My host parents serve as cultural ambassadors as well! They encourage me to explore and embrace their heritage, and they have contributed to my understanding of the world.

Through this journey, I have gained insight into diverse cultures and the universal language of shared values. This stands as a testament to the blend of traditions that can occur when hearts and homes are open to the richness of diversity.