We are pleased to announce Yvonne Eugenia from Indonesia as the June YES Student of the Month! Yvonne was placed by PAX in Harrisburg, South Dakota, where she attended Sioux Falls Christian School.
Yvonne returned to Indonesia with her YES program cohort in early June. While on program, she seamlessly immersed herself in her host family’s life and her local community.
Yvonne is indeed a passionate representative of Indonesia’s culture. Not only as part of IEW but during the entire year Yvonne shared her culture: cooking Indonesian cuisine and serving it to students at lunch, performing a cultural dance in the school variety show, and giving cultural presentations to more than 30 classes, with over 2,000 audience members consisting of students and faculty.
Yvonne was also a dedicated volunteer to many causes. She loves community service because it allows her to learn new skills, have a positive impact on others, and make new friends. By the time her YES year ended, Yvonne had completed over 100 hours of volunteering, reflecting that she was "inspired by how the American lifestyle respects and has a lot of opportunities to volunteer.” Yvonne regularly volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, the Sioux Falls City Food Bank, and the Serve-and-Learn Student Association at Feeding South Dakota, where she prepared and served food for hundreds of people. She was involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Rake the Town.
Yvonne made a lasting impression on Sioux Falls Christian High School by excelling both academically and socially. While tackling a challenging class schedule, Yvonne also made the most of her year by joining clubs. She was a member of the National Speech and Debate Association and the International Leadership Team. Additionally, Yvonne was WYLET awardee, the winner of PAX’s “Virtual Exchange” contest, and was chosen to attend the Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Conference in Baltimore, MD, where she learned how to be a leader in spreading peace and understanding across cultures and religions. Since stepping off the plane in August, Yvonne was ready and willing to do all the hard work that it took to make her exchange year the best it could be.
Looking back on 10 months of exchange experience, Yvonne said, “I learned that true happiness and fulfillment can be found in the connections we make with others. Despite the difficulties I faced, I was able to form deep connections with my host family, peers, and other people I met during my exchange year. These connections taught me the importance of empathy, kindness, and understanding. My exchange year was like a journey into the unknown. It was scary at first, but it was also filled with endless opportunities for growth and discovery. I am grateful for the challenges and experiences I faced, as they helped me become the person I am today. Thank you, YES Program!”
We are so proud of all Yvonne accomplished as a YES student. Congratulations again to Yvonne Eugenia, our June YES Student of the Month from Indonesia!