By Naoussi Bella Amanda Kengne (YES 2018-2019, Cameroon, hosted by AIFS/AYA in Rossville, KS)
My YES year has been all about adapting to and learning how to overcome changes and challenges. In the beginning, I was so scared of opening up to people and expressing myself, making new friends, and trying new things. As time went by, I realized that if I didn't put myself out there and get out of my comfort zone, I might not have a good year. I also learned that if didn't try my best to make friends, I shouldn't expect others to come over to me.
I changed my attitude and became more outgoing. Now I can look back at all I did and be proud of myself because if I didn't have that determination, I don't think I would have made the effort to push myself. I didn't do this all alone. My host parents and my local coordinator always pushed me forward, adding one more reason to why I shouldn't give up.
One of the biggest challenges I faced this year was changing my host family as my host family could no longer host two exchange students. I was so nervous about having to start over and adapt to a new family. I was really happy when I discovered my new host family was actually going to be my local coordinator because I already knew her and was familiar with my new home. In the end, I didn't have to change as much as I thought I would.
I really love my host family. They make sure I don't have any problems and I am in good health. During spring break, they took me and my host sister to Branson, Missouri and we had so much fun.
What makes me sad right now is when I think of the day I'm leaving. Anytime I'm having fun, the thought of leaving crosses my mind and makes me really sad. However, instead of preventing me from enjoying my exchange year, this motivates me to have more fun and try new experiences because I might not have this same opportunity in the future.
I love everything about this exchange year, even the challenges, because all the obstacles I overcome make me stronger. Thanks to this program, I am able to test my abilities.