YES Programs



Teaching and Learning

Group Of Girls In The Stands At A Soccer Stadium

By Sama Badarneh (YES 2022-2023, West Bank, placed by AFS-USA in Inver Grove Heights, MN) 

One of my biggest goals was to be a YES student. With lots of hard work, effort, and time, I’m now an exchange student in Minnesota. I’ve been in the U.S. for almost 6 months and I’ve learned a lot about American culture, the people, their values and of course, the food. I have expanded my horizon and refined my leadership skills. In addition, I’m happy to represent my country and my people. I enjoyed International Education Week a lot. My friends at school were excited to learn more about me and my home country. I did a presentation in my world history class, and my teacher was so happy to have a student from a country which he had been teaching about for many years. I’ve learned that in exchange programs, you will give and you will gain, you will teach and you will learn.  

Two Girls In The Snow Holding Ice Tubes

Another one of my favorite experiences was homecoming. I really liked the homecoming football game, and my high school won the championship! My friends and I went to the U.S. Bank Stadium to cheer for them. For Halloween, my friends and I trick or treated, went to a Halloween maze, and went to a Halloween party. I dressed as a pirate. My host family has also taught me so much about how they celebrate their holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Christmas, we cut down the Christmas tree, decorated the house, and made lots of Christmas cookies.  

Soon, I will be attending the Civic Education Workshop in Washington, D.C. I was selected from hundreds of students to attend the workshop with other exchange students from all over the world. I believe that this workshop will help me to teach English when I return home, to develop my people and my country, and to be a changemaker in my community. This is a dream for many students like me. I feel that now, my host family and my host community have a better understanding of my home country. I’ve given them souvenirs and traditional clothes and cooked Palestinian food for them. Although I’m not in my home country, I feel now that I have a lot of homes for me all over the world.