YES Programs



Persevering to Make Change

Soukeyna smiling in graduation regalia holding a diploma

By Soukeyna Tall (YES 2012-2013, Senegal, placed by AYA/AIFS in Stockton, CA)

Being an exchange student was the best experience I've ever had. Thus, returning to Senegal and readapting was not easy because, through my exchange year, I grew into a better version of myself, developed new perspectives, and learned new things about myself. I also wanted to bring back what I learned in the U.S. to my community. 

However, as the United States and Senegal are very different, it was initially hard to take action. Fortunately, with the help of the YES alumni program, I participated in several activities that positivly impacted our communities, such as planting trees, cleaning up beaches, and renovating schools. I also began to participate in many panels and workshops like the Interfaith Harmony Workshop in 2016 in Morocco. 

Before graduating, I felt that wanted to go back to the U.S. for university, so I applied for several scholarships. However, my destiny was to stay in Senegal, and I thank God for that because I did not regret it. Through the years, I realized that no matter where you are studying, as long as you put in the effort, you can and will succeed.

After high school, I chose to study Medicine, and I am soon to be a doctor. Medicine is a difficult and tedious major, but the years fly by so fast, and once I think of the reason for what I'm doing, which is to impact people‚Äôs lives, then I have all the motivation I need. I am specializing in public health in order to guarantee access to quality healthcare for everyone is one of my goals. 

My advice to young alumni is to always believe in their abilities changes because I know that you are capable of doing remarkable things. Also, bear in mind that your community needs your experience and knowledge and that you must participate in its development. Let us all give back to our community!