YES Programs




YES 20th anniversary graphic with photo of Seba

By Seba Al Tawfiq (YES 2021-2022, Saudi Arabia, placed by AFS in Belgium, WI)

What are some of your biggest accomplishments since becoming an alumni of the YES program?

I have been keeping in touch with people from my host community and my host family. I also came back to my host state for college, and I volunteered with the YES program in my country.

What are some of your favorite memories from the YES program?

Some of my favorite memories from my exchange year include participating in a Polar Plunge, hosting a Halloween party, going on a trip to Chicago with the other exchange students in my community, and going to Six Flags with my host family. My favorite memories also include playing volleyball and getting better at it, being in school plays (once backstage, and once acting), being on prom court, and the Civic Education Week (CEW) trip to Washington D.C.

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've stayed in touch via social media and alumni events in Saudi Arabia and other countries. I've also been living in my host state for the past 3.5 months, so I have been visiting them frequently and also hanging out with friends I met during my exchange year.

Photo collage featuring Seba posing with groups and individual people

How did the YES program impact you professionally? What about personally?

Professionally, I managed to get into a college in my host state, and possibly an internship. Personally, I learned so much about myself and how to be a better person. I also realized that I wanted to experience so much in life and travel and see the world.

What is one piece of advice you would give to current or future YES program participants?

I would say that they should take any opportunity, don't be shy, go out and talk to people, and do what they want. Don't worry about what other people think and be yourself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should have no regrets at the end of it. If I could go back, I would start a journal from day one.

Read more about Seba's story in our archives.