YES Programs



Yesterday Goes Yet Lives On

YES student stands with his host family in front of a step in that says "fight hunger make a difference"

By Muhammad Huzaifa (YES 2019-2020, Pakistan, placed with AFS in Modesto, CA)

“What will I be in one year?” was one of the questions rattling my eardrums one year ago. It was fairly complicated, making me challenge myself at every step of my life. “How will my exchange year transform me or will I be changed at all?” was another one of them. Looking back to those times which flew faster than I had imagined, I am truly humbled to quote, “Living every moment without regrets is what mattered the most.”

An aspirant with dreams of becoming a social and community volunteer, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that in the eight most mystical months of my life I would fill the spectrums of my life’s rainbow with my long-standing aspiration of giving back my community through random acts of kindness, which all started as I stepped aboard my exchange year.

YES student stands next to a sign that says "Yosemite Village"
Volunteering at Yosemite National Park

Community service was one an indelible highlight of my exchange year. Through it, I not only had the opportunity to exhibit gratitude towards my host community but also form enduring ties which, even after my return home, have not faded away but only strengthened. Sunday mornings at my host family’s church assisting my host mom with her classes, Wednesday evenings at the youth club, Saturday mornings at local events like marathons, and community awareness events never grow old. These small yet rewarding acts of random kindness have helped me realize that the true elixir of happiness is not in moving onward and forward but in stopping now and then to appreciate everything that makes us who we are. 

My realms are yours,
Your realms are yours,
I was no one but you,
You were no one but you,
Leaving no me just you.

Gathering my cerebration to know what could come my way may take me to mere points upon which my thoughts are limited, to where the unseen appears unseeable. Rather, living those moments in love, harmony, and faith has led me to the eternal bliss of happiness, giving away at every turn.