By: Rim Khayata (YES 2018-2019, Lebanon, hosted by AFS in Kenai, AK)
Skiing is a vital activity in the lives of many Alaskans. As an exchange student, I was really hesitant before joining my school ski team. I really wanted to learn this new sport, however, I knew that it was really hard and it requires a lot of practice and patience. Nevertheless, I challenged myself, so I went out of my comfort zone and I joined the team. I would tell you now, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had during my whole exchange year.
I had some awesome days with the ski team, but I also had some really challenging days. I was out in the cold weather trying to figure out how to go down those steep hills and turns without crashing into a tree! I also had to keep challenging myself to not stop in a 5k race and just keep on going.
Now the ski season is over and throughout this period I have learned an amazing new skill and sport that I will carry with me to Lebanon. I will use this experience to encourage everyone around me to get out of their comfort zones. Additionally, I have met some amazing people, teammates and coaches - you would never expect that an individual sport would have this much spirit. I can still remember every time one of my teammates passed by me and said that I was doing a great job. I have learned so much from our coaches, they are great leaders and excellent mentors!