YES Programs



The Light of my Program

Two boys smiling and standing on one leg

By Hamed Agossa (YES 2022-2023, Mali, placed by World Link in Clutier, IA)

Before coming to the U.S, I learnt about double placements, where there is another exchange student placed with you in your host family. I was lucky, according to me, to have it as a part of my experience. My double placement was Oomatbek, who we call Ooma, from Kyrgyzstan and the funny thing was that neither of us had ever heard about one another's country before meeting.

Two boys painting a school logo
Volunteering for the 2023 class with Ooma

Most of the time before bounding with another exchange student in the same host family as yours, it may feel scary and could make you think about how bad your experience would be. I was not in that mindset because of my excitement to meet someone from another country in order to have more positives during my exchange year. 

We spent most of our time together. The fact that we were living the same American dream and were going through practically the same experience got us more and more close. One of the goals of the year was to learn from your host community and host parents, but thanks to this new brother, now I know more about a country in Central Asia. I have learned multiple Kyrgyz and Russian words and expressions. I have learned how to appreciate a new culture totally different from the one I was getting ready to experience before coming to the U.S. Most significantly, I now have a brother who checks up on me more than I ever did for myself.

Two boys shooting basketballs
First time shooting baskets