YES Programs



Seizing the Journey

Mutiara standing With a group of Exchange Students

by Mutiara Zahra (Indonesia, YES '23, placed by ACES in Geneva, MN)

Hi, I’m Tiara, an exchange student from Indonesia. I would like to share the story of my journey so far. Within these few months in the United States, I have already made many new experiences. Besides making friends and adapting to this new life, I am also trying new activities. And this is how I seize the journey of my exchange story.

Wherever I am, life will always have ups and downs. But I am the one who has control to drive my journey. The choice is mine. What I chose to do for my exchange year is to live it to the fullest. I am receiving love, kindness, knowledge, experiences, and opportunities. Yet it’s also about giving, sharing my culture, being useful to the people around me, lending a helping hand, and showing acts of kindness. These things can make my exchange journey more meaningful not only for me but also for others.

Mutiara with business club students at the Business Challenge event

Seize the journey by trying out the opportunities that come to you; don’t be afraid to give it a try. By seizing opportunities, an exciting journey will follow. I took my opportunity to join the business club, which brought me to the Business Challenge in Minneapolis. I met many people from different schools, tried the business role-play that was totally new for me, and spent fun time with my friends. The role-play helped me learn my strengths and weaknesses. I learned how to solve a business problem within 10 minutes and present it in front of a judge. It was actually exciting and challenging.

I took the chance to audition for a one-act school play and got cast as a reporter. It was my first time in drama! I went on the drama club trip, enjoyed homecoming, watched the games, went to the parade float, volunteered, tried to cook a variety of worldwide food in cooking class, had a warm family Thanksgiving, hung out with friends, and shared my country and culture to 60 students for IEW. IEW was special for me, especially remembering that 10 months ago, before I came on the YES program, I was virtually presenting Indonesia to 5 countries, but now I can present Indonesia face to face in America.

For me, seizing the journey isn’t only about traveling, but is also about what I achieve and try. I have so much appreciation and gratitude for the small things that happen in my exchange year. Thank you for reading my story! sampai jumpa!