YES Programs



I Found a Home

Ishfa 3

By Ishfa Rouf (YES 2018-2019, Bangladesh, hosted by CIEE in New Albany, IN)

I was nearly 16 years old when I entered the most life changing moment of my life. I was extremely excited and nervous at the same time. The plane took off from D.C. and I couldn't stop fidgeting. It sent a shiver down my spine when I realized I was going to see my "host mom" for the first time in less than 90 minutes. I still remember the first time I saw her in Louisville airport. She brought sugar cookies for me and had the brightest smile on her face. 

Ishfa 1

Coming from Dhaka, a big city, to New Albany, a small city, was very different but, I loved it. I loved the peacefulness. There's no exact answer to what I miss the most about U.S. because I can't choose if I miss my host mother’s morning call: "Wake up, honey." or the "Hey, let's go for a ride!" the most. I can't choose if I miss having family meals altogether or spending time with my host pet, Charlie, the most. I can't choose if I miss, mom asking: "How was school today?" or having endless conversations about life, the most. I met great people while I was in Indiana. I have received invaluable amount of love from my host family. Though I was not the "perfect” exchange student, my host mom and her family understood and believed in me from the very beginning, and it was the greatest gift I could have ever received. I have never been happier and felt more secure. I believe in miracles now. After coming to the U.S. from Bangladesh, I found a home. Mom, if you are reading this, I miss you. I wish I could push the rewind button of my life and experience those moments with you again. I'd exchange anything to have a little more time in U.S. at home.

Ishfa 2

My first impression of her was: "Holy moly me, oh my, this person really exists and she's so beautiful". Before I knew it, she became a "mom" to me. We had a great time together. We visited lots of places like California and Ohio. We also did fun things such as go to see Cirque Du Soleil, watching her perform in her band, and going for shopping or randomly stopping to get ice cream. Now that I'm back in my country, I realize that every little moment was so precious and I'll treasure them forever.


In May, write a thank you letter to your host family, host community, or favorite teacher! 

Check out this month's story prompt at and submit your story!