By Inam Hussain (YES 2021-2022, Pakistan, placed by ASSE in Weiser, ID)
My dream of traveling to the United States to live with a host family and go to an American high school all started five years ago. I was inspired by a senior at my high school in Pakistan who had already participated in the YES Program. Hearing about their experience, I knew I wanted to apply and by the grace of Almighty Allah, I was selected for the program!
The day finally arrived when I had to leave everything I knew to become a part of a whole new family, school, country, and culture on the other side of the world. I was looking forward to the new adventures that awaited me on the program and was proud of myself as I was going to accomplish a dream of mine - to represent my culture, traditions, values, and diversity to the world.
When arriving in the United States, I knew I would face challenges with making friends, adjusting to a new family, going to a new school, and living a life very different from what I was used to. However, that is what my exchange year is all about! It’s meant to be this way so that I can step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to try things I am not familiar with. It is meant to be this way, so that I can learn that I am capable of doing more than I think I can.
After five months of living with my host family in Idaho, I now see myself as a new person. I have had new adventures and experiences that have led me to becoming stronger, more tolerant, more responsible, and more mature. I tried out for my school’s soccer team and made the team - a very new experience. I also went to Colorado with my host family for fall break. The state was a place filled with natural beauty and it almost reminded me of back home. I also had the chance to go to the homecoming dance of my school and even gave 20+ cultural presentations at my school and host community.
My continued success during the YES program is possible because of Almighty God, my natural family, my host family, the YES program, my placement organization, and myself. I proved to myself that I can accomplish anything in my life with a strong willpower. Today, I can say that I have successfully spent five months in Idaho and I am optimistic to spend the rest of the four months with the same success and energy. Alhamdullilah and Inshallah.