YES Programs



YES to the Unknown! : Freshnelle’s Journey Abroad in the Peach State

Freshnelle Presenting her Culture in Class

By Freshnelle Petga (YES 2023-2024, Cameroon, placed by Ayusa in Molena, GA)

Hey everyone! I’d like to share my great experience in Georgia as a girl from Cameroon, a country in the western part of central Africa. I learned about the YES program through my school. I was interested in the potential opportunity to visit America, meet new friends, and live with another family on the other side of the world.

My journey with the YES program began in September, and at first, I felt a bit lost. People spoke very fast, and it wasn’t easy for everyone to understand my accent. However, I worked hard to improve and make it better. After spending time with my host family, I realized how helpful, friendly, and nice they are. To me, they are the best family ever! My host mom insists that I'm a part of the family; when I'm hungry or thirsty, I can help myself in the kitchen. My host dad makes all kinds of jokes that make me smile, and my host sister is feisty and funny. This reminds me that I truly have a family here, and I'm so thankful for them.

Freshnelle holding up Cameroonian Flag with Classmates

I share my culture, religion, and country every time I get a chance. Everyone has been interested in knowing about my country. On my first day at school, I was totally lost trying to find my classes. Many students came and asked me if I needed help. Not only did they get me to class, but they also came back to show me my other classes. It made me very excited to see people assist and talk to me. When I tell people I'm from Cameroon, they don't know where it is. That gives me the opportunity to share my country with them. During International Education Week (IEW) at my school, I presented four times. My presentation consisted of information on education, climate, religion, food, and clothes. They asked me so many questions and really enjoyed learning about my country.

Freshnelle at Pumpkin Patch with Host Sister

Some of my favorite memories here are when we went to Florida's Cape Canaveral, in which I got to see the beach for the first time. We also went to Disney, and I dressed as a princess and rode fun rides. I really enjoyed visiting a pumpkin patch as well.

I have learned many interesting things in America. Working with food is very different because food safety is more lenient here than where I'm from. Furthermore, traditional American food varies from what I'm accustomed to back home, yet I've had the pleasure of trying so many delicious dishes in America. A personal favorite of mine is turkey and dressing, and our family celebrations were nothing short of a huge, delicious event.

Freshnelle with Host Sister in the City

We don't celebrate Halloween in my country. It was my first time celebrating and dressing up. I was excited to volunteer for the community and give candy to children. At the Healthy Life Community Garden, we taught children an international memory language game (Hello, Goodbye, and Colors). This showed them how important different languages are for everyone, emphasizing its potential impact on their futures. During that time, my host sister and I decided to wear traditional clothes in which I wore African attire, and she wore a German dress.

I'm very thankful to the YES program for the opportunity to experience America, share my culture, and learn invaluable skills–such as speaking in front of people without fear and problem-solving.