By Reem Almuraikhi (YES 2011-2012, Bahrain, placed by PAX in Cheboygan, MI)
What are some of your biggest accomplishments since becoming an alumni of the YES program?
One of my biggest takeaways from the YES program was building deep connections with people from across the globe and understanding more about the impact each of us has on each other and on the planet. After the YES program, I wished to establish more bonds with like-minded youth from all over the world and give back to my community through the Global Shapers in the Manama Hub, by becoming a member of the Arab Youth Council for Climate Change, and by participating in different international programs like the Ship for World Youth program and the UNDP's Youth Leadership Program. I also attended the Digital Storytelling Workshop in Bangladesh in 2018, and I supported end-of-stay orientations in Washington DC in 2019.
What are some of your favorite memories from the YES program?
There were many unforgettable moments during my YES year, most of which were made memorable because of friends and family, like celebrating Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I also enjoyed spending time outdoors and being in nature, experiencing the seasons, and camping under the stars.
What are some of the ways you’ve stayed connected to fellow alumni since your exchange experience? What about your host family or friends?
I have managed to stay in touch with the larger YES community through social media and regular check-ins with friends. I was also lucky enough to meet some of my fellow alumni during travels in Europe and the U.S. over the years. As to my local YES community, we regularly meet up and organize events and activities together, and it’s always refreshing to exchange experiences and share stories.
How did the YES program impact you professionally? What about personally?
My participation in the YES program exposed me to people from around the world and sparked my interest in global issues. Since then, I have taken an active role in tackling pressing global challenges, including delivering educational guidance to youth in Bahrain through programs like the UNDP's Youth Leadership Programme and the Green Youth Hackathon. As a member of the Bahrain Science Center for the SDGs, I build the capacities of young Bahrainis and enhance their knowledge to inspire and encourage action on global issues.