By Rita Momue (YES 2019-20, Liberia, hosted by AFS in Liberty City, MO)
It has been a few months since I started living in the U.S. I already feel like it has been a decade living here surrounded by the love and hospitality of my family and friends. Although it's the first time living without my natural family-- despite some homesickness, I am focusing on spending time with my host family and friends to make the most of my experience here. The first half of my YES year has been great. I've made friends and have learned how to adapt to American culture. Moreover, I've built a strong relationship with my host family by spending quality time with them and I believe this is the best way to make strong connections with people here.
Over these past months, I've been engaged in some activities like volunteering, church activities such as youth retreats and helping the breakfast teams at church, family activities, and school activities. Because of my passion for music, I was hoping to learn how to read music. It happened that I was placed in a family that loves music as well. My host dad has been working with me on learning how to read music, some music theory, and how to play the piano. I am also enrolled in a choir class on campus where I am also learning how to read music. It has been a fabulous experience; working with great people and learning new skills; keeping up my academics and also other activities for the first half of the year.
For me to move forward and make the best of 2020, I have some activities on my agenda to keep the ball rolling. The following activities are my 2020 targets: theatre class, track and field, and to continue my music studies. I am very grateful that my host family has taken me to a few live theatre performances that have made me interested in theatre lessons. I am so excited for my theatre class to begin this semester because of the cool performances I have attended with my family.
The YES program has made a huge impact on me. Back home, I was not a big fan of extracurricular activities but trying out for my school track team and signing up for other activities this semester has made me realize that I have made some important changes in my life and I want to keep working for the best exchange experience possible. I realize that participating in these activities will mean a lot when I return to my home country. The YES program is actually impacting the world. I am hoping for the best for the remaining months of my experience in the U.S. Happy 2020 to all the YES families!