By Dhoha Bediwi (YES 2018 – 2019, Saudi Arabia, hosted by CIEE in Farmington, ME)
I'm currently sitting in my room listening to American music, in an American house with tears of joy in my eyes. I cannot believe I've made it this far in life. I've done a lot in these past months but didn't even realize it till today when I got two letters in the mail from important people appreciating my work and my speeches on my country, myself, and my exchange year in the past week. It made me feel so so special. Those letters made me feel that I'm making a change in this community, and that I'm a good ambassador for my country.
To be honest, I didn't really believe the whole "you're an ambassador for your country" when everyone promoting the YES program said it back home. But now that I'm here, participating in events, volunteering, talking and answering people's questions about me and my country, I truly do believe it. I am an ambassador, I am making a change.
And surprisingly I'm not even embarrassed or shy because all of this, everything I'm doing here is helping me learn and grow as a young teenager in this big world. Being a 16 year old all the way across the world, away from my security blanket of family, friends, and my childhood surroundings could be very difficult sometimes. But it's all worth it when you hear someone say they now want to visit your country, that now they know you're just a normal teenager like everyone in this room, or when someone learns something about your country. It makes me so happy to hear all of those positive comments.
I'm growing more confidence in myself. I haven't felt so confident in so long that I even forgot what it is like. I am really glad that I worked very hard the last year to get accepted into the YES program and get this scholarship.
I am so lucky to have a very supportive family back home and a very supportive host family in America, you guys are the best! And I can't forget about my friends back home and my friends and America, you guys are the coolest!
Thank you for reading this!