YES Programs



Sharing My Culture and Camping for the First Time

Student posing in front of lake with friends from different countries jpeg

By Noori Rashid (YES 2023-2024, Pakistan, placed by AFS in Marshall, WI)

My name is Noori, and I am from Baluchistan, Pakistan. I knew about the YES program through my school, and I wanted to apply because I wanted to learn more about U.S. schools, make new friends, and have another family from another corner of the world for lifetime.

My school year started in September, and I had just been in America for a few days but I found that everyone here is so friendly and nice. People are always there to help you and make you feel happy, especially in my experience. My host family is so sweet, and they have always made me feel as if I am home. They have treated me like their own kid, I am so thankful for them.

Everyone has been interested to know about my culture and country. I shared my Baluchi clothing with my host family, and they just loved it. On my first day of school, my host sister and I dressed up in my cultural clothes, and everyone at school also loved them. It is so amazing to be able to share your culture and about a country others have never heard of.

Student poses with host sister wearing Balochi cultural clothing

Every teacher has been great and has always asked me if they can help me with anything. The students are so interested to learn about my country, and they always want to help any way they can. When I first started school, I mostly got lost trying to find my classes. One day, I was just roaming and confused when a student came and asked me if I needed help. He showed me my class, which was so sweet of him.

Around the world, people don't know as much about Baluchistan, so to be able to share information about my country and my culture, in order to make more connections and memories, is an opportunity I did not want to miss.

One of my favorite memories in America so far has been camping. I've always wanted to experience camping, so I was very excited yet nervous at the same time. When my host mom dropped me off at the camping site, I was happy to arrive, and I’m glad to say the trip extended my expectations.

The student posing in front of a lake wearing traditional clothing jpeg

I started my day by introducing myself to the other exchange students from all around the world. They were all very nice, respectful, and most importantly, funny. After that we played volleyball and basketball. It was my first time playing these sports, and I did not expect that I would be so good at them. I enjoyed playing them a lot.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was boating. I was a little bit nervous and scared to go on the boat, so I went to tell the teacher about how I felt. She reassured me that everything would be fine. When it was time for my group, which was the last to go, I was still nervous, but I took a deep breath and went. I was happy that I took the teacher’s advice because the view on the boat was beautiful. I wanted the moment to last forever. Just floating and seeing everything all around you was such an amazing thing to witness and just be a part of.

At the end of the day we had a campfire. We ate marshmallows, sang songs, told stories, and laughed. It felt so surreal, and was a heartwarming moment. Overall the trip was such an amazing experience and I am very grateful to have gone.

I am grateful to the YES program and to be able to experience these things and meet new people and learn about other cultures.

Students holding up Pakistani flag in front of lake jpeg