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Lessons Learned through the YES Virtual Program

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By Gouro Koita (YES 2020-2021, Mali, virtually placed with AFS-USA in Albuquerque, NM)

Since the beginning of the virtual program, I’ve seen a lot of changes happen in my life. I have learned a lot about American culture, specifically about the U.S. government and elections. I even had the opportunity to visit Miami Beach virtually with my host family from New Mexico! 

During International Education Week (IEW) in November 2020, I presented about my country and received a certificate of participation. In March 2021, I was selected among YES and FLEX students worldwide to attend the 37th Better Understanding for a Better World (BUBW) Conference, a three-day conference organized by the Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF), which gives international and American high school students from diverse cultural backgrounds the opportunity to meet and learn from one another. 

Thanks to this conference, I have grown a lot. I learned about the principles of other religions: to recognize the humanity of other people and respect their dignity and to be generous towards others and to expand consciousness, because with higher consciousness you can bring greater light to everything you do and live more in the present. Most of the time, I am worried about the future or unable to let go of the past, and I’m trying to live more in the present. By living in the present, we can connect more deeply with ourselves and with those around us. 

I’m excited to continue learning more through YES virtual program. The world is waiting for YES students to step up and get involved! Let’s make that change together!


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