When I was in 11th grade, a girl named Karishma from Ahmedabad, India was hosted in my town in Vermont through the YES program. We met in class on the first day of school, and she soon became one of my best friends. I still vividly remember saying goodbye to her and the other exchange students at the airport more than a year ago--all of us crying, not knowing when we would see each other again. Fast-forward a year later, and I found myself calling Karishma to tell her that I had been accepted into the YES Abroad program and would be spending a year in India! I was thrilled when only three months into my stay here, the YES returnees in Ahmedabad planned an event for exchange students all over India to be hosted in their city for three days to see the festive Navratri festival. The Ahmedabad chapter brought us around the city, put us with great host families, helped us learn traditional garba dancing, and taught us about the festival of Navratri. Every night I was out dancing with friends or my host family. For three awesome days I got to re-unite with Karishma, and I even got to spend time with two other old friends, Nilly and Sid, who were YES students at my school four years ago! I went to Karishma's house for a few hours one day and was welcomed with warm and open arms by her sweet family. I know it sounds cheesy, but the whole thing really was like a dream come true. The whole time, I could barely believe that I was actually seeing Karishma, Nilly, and Sid again. I can't wait to return to Ahmedabad and for Karishma to come visit me in Chennai. It is life-long friendships like these that make the YES program such a wonderful thing.
- Zoe, YES Abroad India 2011-2012