YES Programs



Joining Hands Under the Redwoods

Anamta and members of the Northwest California AFS Chapter pose for a photo in front of the Redwoods in California.

By Anamta Faisal (YES 2021-2022, Pakistan, placed by AFS-USA in Arcata, CA)

This month, the Northwest California AFS chapter arranged a trip for the exchange students in Northern California to visit the tallest trees in the world, the redwood trees. We hiked through Redwood National Park and saw the giant redwoods, the likes of which we had never seen before. While at the park, we learned about widowmakers, bay leaves, and many other fun nature facts. 

We ate lunch by a creek, and then skipped stones and soaked our feet in the refreshing water. After lunch, we walked deeper into the woods where we finally got to see the enormous redwoods. It was breathtaking! 

All of the exchange students linked hands around a tree to try to form a chain around it. At that moment, I couldn’t help but think about what exchange is really about: not just living the American dream, but meeting people from places you’ve never been and might never go. By joining hands around the huge redwoods, we became a part of an international family and formed a bond that will never be broken. Thank you to the U.S. Department of State for allowing me to be a part of this international family. 

Anamta and friend sit on the rocks near the shoreline of Redwoods Creek