By Rumasa Zahra (YES 2019-2020, Pakistan, hosted by CIEE in Brooklyn, IA)
"In the end, it's the memories that you cherish forever."
Being an exchange student was one of the most scary things I have done in my life, but also one of the best! When I met my host family for the first time, I knew the goodbye was going to be really hard. Although my exchange year was cut short, it still possesses some of my most valued memories. There are things that I'll always remember, like when and my host mom and I would talk for hours while solving a puzzle during quarantine or photoshoots that we did together, my host brother always willing to play basketball with me or jump on the trampoline, and my friends and I going for drives around town.
Brooklyn was very different from my city in Pakistan, but the people made it feel like home. They were some of the kindest people I have ever met! From setting up a mini prom photoshoot to planning a drive-by farewell for me, they did every possible thing to make my exchange year better. I miss taking my dogs out for walks, my teachers, my classmates and all the sports I did, but I made some lifelong memories and friends. Brooklyn is now a home seven thousand miles away and, as they say, home is where the heart is, so I definitely left part of my heart in Brooklyn!