YES Programs



The Foundation for Change

Romesa holding the phone with her soccer team
Romesa Soccer

By Romesa Bikliqi (YES 2022-2023, Lipjan, Kosovo, placed in El Paso, TX)

My year abroad proved challenging and immensely enjoyable, an experience that will forever be etched in my memory. I want to share some aspects of my journey that impacted me the most and shaped who I am today.

First and foremost, during my exchange year at an American high school, I enthusiastically joined the soccer team. Engaging in the soccer season brought about immense joy as I played matches on the field against other schools, forged new friendships with teammates, and actively participated in various sporting activities.

Joining the soccer team improved my teamwork skills, and it was a great way to stay active and make lasting connections with my teammates. Ultimately, I was honored with an award for joining the team and contributing a fresh perspective and cultural richness to the group.

Romesa with Best Dressed Award.

I also joined the Law Enforcement Club at my high school, engaging in various competitions that made for unforgettable experiences. The camaraderie built during these events resulted in new and lasting friendships, along with the acquisition of valuable skills. Participating in the TXPSTA competition, I found myself challenged and intrigued by fingerprinting, a task I had never attempted before. The culmination of our efforts was marked by an award ceremony, where I was honored with the highest rank in the Law Enforcement club for my contributions and received the "Best Dressed" award. This recognition left me genuinely happy and excited about my decision to join the club.

My exchange year was incredible, and another memory that I enjoyed was the road trip we took with my host family. Americans tend to love to take road trips, and the places we visited were Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Hoover Dam, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Sedona. It was a fantastic experience to visit these places for the first time and spend more quality time with my lovely host family.

Romesa with her host family

My host family provided a welcoming and supportive environment for me to live in. They helped me adjust to my new surroundings and made me feel like a part of their family. I have a second family, and we created long-lasting bonds and memories.

Overall, my exchange year has been transformative for me. I experienced significant personal growth through immersion in a diverse community, gained newfound independence, and expanded my worldview. The journey has sharpened my communication skills and deepened my understanding of myself and American culture. Describing my exchange year, I characterize it as enriching, challenging, filled with meaningful friendships, and brimming with lifelong memories.

I'm now back in my home country, serving as a YES Alumni and City Representative. Utilizing the lessons learned during my exchange year, I'm committed to making subtle yet meaningful changes in my community. This journey has enriched my life and empowered me to contribute positively to the world around me.