Kennedy-Lugar YES Program
Asma, Tunisia: The YES Program is an exchange program
Gabriel, Jordan: that brings people from dominant Muslim countries into the United States so we can interact with the people, share our cultures, and our beliefs.
Dave Bell, Guidance Counselor: It has gone a long way in breaking down the stereotypes and the preconditioned ideas that we have about people in other cultures.
Seema, Pakistan: From my childhood, I was been growing up with this stereotype that, you know, all Muslims are terrorists. And I guess, it’s a really neat thing, you know, to remove kind of this misconception and to help bridge the gaps between the nations.
Ruaa, Yemen: It really helped me expand my picture of the world.
Brenda Stanton, Host Mother: Just trying to help dispel those myths and stereotypes. It’s been very enlightening.
Dave Bell, Guidance Counselor: I think it’s mutual. I think not only do these students learn about American culture and the true life of and American teen and how they grow up but we also learn about these kids.
Gabriel, Jordan: All my year was special, but one moment I will never forget is one day we were walking back from our football practice. Me and one of my friends, we were talking. And he said that, “Before I got to know you, I thought people from the Middle East are mostly bad people. They don’t like the United States. They don’t like us people. But getting to know you, man, I was proven wrong. And I have never been more happy to be proven wrong.” And at the point, I was so excited. And I felt that, yes, a sixteen-year-old can make a difference.
Asma, Tunisia: It is a very great opportunity.
Andrea, Malaysia: This is a life changing experience.
Urby, Bangladesh: It’s like I have a family here. I have two families now.
Mohammed, Liberia: It’s a great idea coming to the United States on a student exchange program.