YES Programs



Overcoming Challenges - Hassan Al Lawati

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Life is filled with challenges that can cause great pain, but if we let those challenges stop us, we won’t achieve anything in our lives.

It has been 9 months since I first arrived in the U.S as an exchange student. I never thought that I would ever go through something like this in my life, and I never knew that it would be such an amazing year that would hugely impact me. 

It was not an easy decision to make in the beginning; I had to give up a lot of things. I gave up seeing my family and friends for a year. I gave up speaking my native language and the taste of my mom’s delicious food. It was a challenging decision to make, but I’ve always believed that a person has to keep looking for new challenges, so I decided to go on this adventure and take on this challenge.

Many people questioned my decision; some of them called my parents and asked them if they were seriously willing to let me do it. They thought that my parents were not thinking right, but my parents made it clear that they knew what they were doing. I am so thankful to have such a supportive family.
I will admit, the first couple of weeks here were not the easiest. I was confused about what was going on, the way people talked to each other, the timings and sizes of their meals, the way they treated their pets, and so on. It was all different than what I was used to.

After starting school and meeting a lot of new people things started to clear up and time began to go by so much faster. I met a lot of interesting people as well and eventually made best friends. They were people who I shared interests with and could be myself around. As time passed by, we got to know each other even more; we did a lot of things, went to different places, tried different foods, watched movies and played pool. It is really interesting how I was able to easily connect with guys from the other side of the world, and live with a family way different than my own, but still feel like I am at home. 

Now that the program is over I can reflect on how far I have come since I first arrived in the U.S. I am more relaxed. I can easily be myself. I am less worried and stressed. But most importantly I am glad to say that the way I view the U.S has drastically changed and I know that I’ll always have another family on the other side of the world. I really hope that I was a good ambassador of my country, Oman. As an alumni we must feel proud of our accomplishments and know that there are always other adventures and challenges waiting for us.