By Jaanvi Marte (YES 2019-2020, Suriname, hosted by the STS Foundation in Mesa, AZ)
I am Jaanvi Marte from Suriname and I was placed in Mesa, Arizona for my YES exchange year. I decided to participate in the YES program because I felt like this was a good way to get out of my comfort zone and experience how life would be outside of my own country.
I didn’t think about how this would change my life forever, from the way I think to the way I act, but this program has changed my life in a positive way! I had to change host families because things didn’t workout for me at first, but I saw this as a chance to have a “new” and fresh start and also a “bonus,” so I could have a whole other experience with new people.
In my new host family, I changed a lot! I got all the support I needed from my host mom and brothers. My host mom was my biggest inspiration and motivation at that time. She taught me so much! Things I maybe knew, but I had never really thought about. She helped to create a new, better and much more positive version of myself! She has helped me through some hard and tough times; she tried making me feel like I was in my own family and she was my own mom. She gave me a chance to go out and explore who Jaanvi really is! She supported me even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing. She made food that I would like, she brought me to places to visit, and she did a lot of other things for me, as well.
Words aren’t enough to explain how thankful I am! I am thankful for every single person I have met in the U.S. This includes my first host family, who taught me that even if things don’t work out, you should never give up. They made me realize that living isn’t what we see in the movies, but it is much more!
This program made me a better person and it changed my life in a positive way. It made me stronger and wiser. This gave me a chance to be the real me without having to worry about anything else. I will forever be thankful for the lessons I have learned and the opportunities I got while on program!