By: Lena Ali (YES 2019–2020, Libya, hosted by American Councils PO in Burleson, TX)
“I was born to live and I live to be successful!” That is the sentence that I have always repeated to myself and it is the reason why I push myself toward my dreams every day; to improve myself and be an effective force of change in society.
Last October, almost a year ago, I was scrolling on Facebook when I saw a video of a YES alumnus from Libya saying, “Why could you not apply?” At first, I asked myself, “What do I lack to be a YES student?” It really did not take long to realize the answer was, “Basically, nothing!”
So, I filled out the application with hope that it would lead me to a marvelous experience, one where I could achieve all my goals and share my beloved culture. After sending the application, I waited a few weeks before the announcement of the results. Thankfully, I received the email that said I was nominated for the next round, which was an English language proficiency test. I went through all the interview rounds and worked really hard to be as a YES student.
My first week at school was so delightful as well. I had an opportunity to meet a friend one week before school started, and she is the reason why I am in theatre arts class, now. Words cannot describe how amazing this class is, and I am having a really great time in this class. My theatre troupe treats me as if I am a part of them, even though they have known each other for a long time. They are more than classmates now, they are my cherished friends!
I have positive people surrounding me everywhere, smiling whenever they see me. They ask tons of questions about Libya and are genuinely curious to know more and more about my life there. They respect where I come from, my religion and heritage, and they value me as an individual, which really means so much to me. I will never forget that day when a teacher here told me, “Libya must be proud to have you!
Last week, I had an orientation gathering with the other exchange students. It confirmed what I already believed, that human beings can merge together despite their differences in cultures, traditions, and nationalities! I have often thought about how the world will be years from now with these ambitious young people leading it. Will it be better? Will it be worse? Will it not make a difference? After seeing the strong desire for changing the world in these young exchange students’ eyes, I strongly believe that miracles will happen in our world!
Since the application for the YES program is just a mouse-click away, I encourage everyone who is reading my story and eligible to apply for the YES program to apply! You should not miss this incredible opportunity to be a young ambassador for your country and join a bigger, global family!