We caught up with Majd, a high school international exchange student from Palestine, who wanted to share his love for his experience as a student with Academic Year in America (AYA) through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program. Read on to learn more about his exchange year in New York:
Hi, My name is Majd, an AYA exchange student from Palestine. Right now writing this from my second home in New York , where my exchange year started, and the whole story too.
I love being an exchange student, yeah! And I always wanted to be. The YES scholarship was my first step to take, so I had to climb very high and maybe tough sometimes to see this great view that I am enjoying today.
I became a member of the AYA family, and I would give this family a big part of any success I achieve this year. They have worked to bring us the best host families. They brought a fantastic staff that has always been supportive and cooperative.
My Local Coordinator has always been working on herself and on her students to make them the best out of the best. From organizing activities, trips, gatherings to what is more important like weekly support and guidance that has been always available anytime we ask for.
My host family, who opened their door for me to be part of them, who treated me as best as they can, who gave me a lot trying to make this year the best year of my life.
To be an exchange student is never easy, but it is always fun. It’s hard when you leave your family, friends, and your country, to a place where everything is new for you! You know nobody yet. It is hard when you open your eyes to a new family, new culture, and new people who will become later a crucial part of your life. However, your hopes and dreams are always there to push you and remind you of your big goal.
You start making friends, hanging out with them, experiencing new things, new adventures, having your host family try your country food, playing with your host siblings, trying crazy stuff, creating worldwide networks with people, and making a lot of memories that you will take home with you and last you forever.
With a lot of laughing and some crying during this year, you finally realize that you found out who you really are when you decided to get out of your comfort zone. When you decided that you are going to be a better version of yourself.
During my year, I noticed how different we are, but that’s what makes each one of us unique and special.
This is my experience so far, and a lot of papers are yet to be written in. I am so thankful for my exchange year, for my host family, my family back home, my friends, my Local Coordinator, my organization (AYA), myself for always pushing me hard, and the USA for giving me the best experience that I would ask for.