By Adam Khlifi (YES 2021–2022, Tunisia, placed by CIEE in Nampa, ID)
My exchange year so far has been a roller coaster full of new experiences that I have enjoyed to the fullest! It started with the soccer team’s Senior Night, when I walked onto the field with my host parents, Rebakah and Richie, before the game began. I was handed a bouquet of flowers and received a standing ovation from my peers! It was fun playing soccer at an American high school with kind, friendly, and hilarious teammates who made me feel welcome from the first day.
The homecoming dance was also a new experience for me and now it’s one of my favorite memories. I had a lot of fun participating in the American tradition of “suiting up” and taking group photos before the dance. My host parents and my host sibling from Serbia, Nikola, took photos with me too. Finally, I had a blast at the dance. My experience was like what I had seen portrayed in the movies!
In October, I had friends come to my house for a pumpkin carving party. I’m grateful to my host parents for providing this opportunity. Although I failed horribly at carving a scary face into my pumpkin, I enjoyed the laughter and fun we had together in the process.
Skiing was another first-time experience in the United States, since it almost never snows in Tunisia. I can confidently say that skiing, in the beginning, is not as pleasant as one might expect. Let’s just say that there’s a high chance you could go home with some bruises after the frequent falls on the slopes. Now that I’ve improved my skills, I can finally start enjoying the fun part of skiing. It was funny when I received comments about never seeing snow from elementary school students during my presentations about Tunisia. One student cautioned me, “Be careful not to put your hands in snow for a long time, because it’s so cold and it will hurt your hand.”
Now, I’m wrapped up in the excitement of celebrating my first Christmas with my host parents and Nikola. I already feel confident that Christmas with my host family will go down as one of my favorite experiences, too. I’m already enjoying the decorations across the city and the lights everywhere. Cheers to the first half of my YES year!