By Kristi S. (YES 2018-2019, Albania, hosted by Ayusa in Killeen, TX)
Being able to live and interact with people who think in a different way and can show you a new perspective of the world can help all of us grow socially, intellectually, and also spiritually. Being a YES exchange student has helped me to develop new communication skills, cultural knowledge, and problem-solving strategies.
On one hand, I have learned a lot about American culture and traditions, visited so many places and tried so many new things, and on the other, with my experience living in Albania and my finite knowledge about its culture and history, I have tried my best to demonstrate my culture to the people around me. I have also helped the community by doing what I enjoy doing a lot: teaching. I have been tutoring students in AP chemistry for several months at my school. Personally, I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for every person that aspires a higher knowledge regarding the world in which we live.
I feel so lucky for the fact that my host parents are teachers because this means they know how to work with kids in an effective way. I am very thankful to both of them for being so friendly and tolerant with me. My host mom has taught me a lot with her experiences and open-mindedness. Thanks to her passion for linguistics, I have learned so many things about different languages, and now I can read Korean, which I find challenging and easy at the same time. She has also helped me by encouraging and helping me with understanding U.S. college applications, so if one day I happen to study in the U.S., part of the achievement is hers. I will always consider my host dad to be an inspiring person because from him I have learned that you can be whoever you want, and when I become an adult, I want to be bouncy, too. My host sister Monica has helped me to realize that if I don't have anything positive to say or if there's something I disagree with, I can always giggle.
To my host family - thank you a lot, and please keep being awesome!