by Snehal Ghule, YES India 2016-17, hosted with YFU in Michigan

“In my school, a program called YES scholarship was announced and I started thinking about applying for the program. I started applying for the program thinking that I would never get this opportunity because there were a lot of competitive students, amongst whom I considered myself nothing but I just thought I should still give it a try. All this process took a year and in April I got to know the result that I’m selected, I couldn’t believe that I got selected but I guess I did had some hope and confidence about me. A girl who had never sat in airplane even in the train got the opportunity to enjoy all this which she never did just because of this scholarship. Well after that I met all exchange students who got selected for the program all over India. I was a shy and quiet girl between them. Well, my journey began there…

And that day came when we had to leave for America and our flight was 17 hours long. We flew in the night and we reached there in the morning when it was still dark. After having orientation in DC I got ready to fly for my host city and we entered in the domestic airport with a group, after doing all security checking, I realized that I’m the only one who is traveling to Detroit, my other friends were flying in group. I got so scared as I was not familiar with the airport system, thinking of how I would mange everything I almost started crying and then my plane took off to Detroit. I forgot for little while that I was alone as I was talking to the guy sitting next to me and my flight finally landed in Detroit. I was confused about the exit gates and my luggage, courageously in my broken English I asked a lady about where would I get my luggage and I followed her directions After the baggage claim door opened and my host mom gave me a tight hug, I just said huuushhhh…. It was such a relief to me. I would never forget this experience, today when I look back I find it funny and scary at the same time.

So here I’m in Ann Arbor in Michigan. I had a month before my school got started, so I did some volunteer work in that time and I also joined a theatre workshop. Another exchange student from Germany was here as my (Photo Above: With friends)

(Photo Above: With friends)

sister. Our school started, Me and my host sister joined the theatre after school. I participated in soccer knowing nothing about it all my life but you never know how good you are, I wasn’t great as I never liked to kick a ball but I was still a good player. I tried so many new things during my exchange year I learned guitar and ceramics also.  When I was in theatre I participated as actor and worked in crew. I also learnt how to sew.

In February, I applied for a BUBW conference and I got selected in it. And at the end of April I went to DC. I made so many friends during this time.  I have made good friends from Pakistan and Bangladesh. We discussed our countries’ issues and some other problems peacefully having responsibility as youth ambassador. Also, we experienced diversity in different religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islamism. We visited church, synagogue and mosque and we discussed about importance of respecting each other’s culture and preferring humanity more than any other religion. We discussed that how we can save our world from world war 3. We share our culture by doing cultural dance and it was the best.

And now the best part was playing games mostly cards with my host mom and my sister, this was our favourite activity for spending quality time together. We used to do lot of things mostly we like to talk with each other and sharing some stories, funny stories we had in our past. Also, my host mom likes Indian chai so I used to make chai for her and myself, sometimes for my sister too. There were a lot of activities that we used to do together as family.

Well now it has been almost a month that I left my host town and I am missing my host mom and host sister. But at the end I’m so thankful that I got this opportunity and my host family that they accepted me as daughter & sister.”