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How the YES Program Changed My Life

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By Sereen Abu Younis (YES 2019-20, Israel (Arab Communities), hosted by AFS-USA in Fishers, IN)

2019 was so special to me and it went by very fast. During this year, I have lived two different lives and learned so many different things. I faced plenty of ups and downs yet the most important thing that I learned is how important it is to be grateful for all those challenging circumstances, because they taught me a lot, especially about myself! 2019 made me stronger, more responsible, and much more confident.

In the first part of 2019, I was living my normal life, the one I was used to living since I was born...the same routine with the same people. 26th of August was the beginning of the next part of my year when my big dream came true. I started a very different life in a completely different place on the other side of the world. I was in a whole new environment surrounded by strangers. This experience gave me a second home, second family, and amazing friends from all over the world!

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Me and my host family celebrating thanksgiving with the big family.

I have lived through so many adventures during a very short period of time and had so much fun learning about the American life style and teaching people around me about my traditions. My favorite part was celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I also faced challenges and took a lot of risks. This part of the year did not only help me improve my English language, but also helped me grow as a person, be responsible, and taught me to never give up.

This year was full of surprises and unexpected things that turned out to be what I needed to make a change! I ended 2019 without my family and friends who I miss in my home country, but I started 2020 in the USA with an amazing and supportive host family and friends. 2020, I'm ready for you and for everything you are holding for me! I'm ready to achieve more goals and to explore the world, its many diversities, and to make the world a better place.

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Celebrating the holidays with my AFS group.

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