News / USA

    Young Students Come to US for Experience of a Lifetime

    Young Students Come to US for Experience of a Lifetimei
    X
    September 26, 2013 10:39 PM
    A U.S.-funded student exchange program is giving young people from around the world the chance of a lifetime - to study and live in America. The state department’s Youth Exchange and Study program - known as YES - targets students mostly from countries with large Muslim populations. The students compete to be selected, and if chosen, are brought to the U.S. to study for a full academic year and live with an American family. VOA’s Kokab Farshori has the details.
    Kokab Farshori
    A U.S.-funded student exchange program is giving young people from around the world the chance of a lifetime - to study and live in America.  The state department’s Youth Exchange and Study program - known as YES - targets students mostly from countries with large Muslim populations.  The students compete to be selected, and if chosen, are brought to the U.S. to study for a full academic year and live with an American family.

    The U.S. state department's "YES" program is bringing together families and students who may seem to live worlds apart - physically and culturally.

    The young people travel from distant homes to see what it is like to live in the U.S. - with an American family.

    The state department's education and cultural affairs bureau began the program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  The goal was to create a better understanding about the United States in the Muslim world.

    Rick Ruth, a senior advisor for the bureau, says the program has tremendous benefits.

    "We know from decades of experience that bringing Americans together with people from all around the world of all ages and all backgrounds is one of the most effective means we have to create a world of mutual understanding, where violence and extremism are simply not welcome," said Ruth.

    Soda Ndiaye is a “YES” student from Senegal.

    “My dream was to come to America, learn about America, go to school here because I want to improve my English and also to know about American people," said Ndiaye.

    Nada Omar, a student from Egypt, is staying with the same host family.

    “Having experience to be independent and knowing how to manage your own things alone, YES program seems great for such things.  And it will actually help you later in your work or your career," said Omar.

    Families do not receive financial compensation for hosting the students.  Randall Fiertz and his wife Carol say that doesn’t matter, because the program’s mission is so important.

    “We have seen a lot of conflict in our world.  And why did that conflict start?  Mainly it’s because we don’t understand each other.  Anything that promotes understanding between the cultures is a good thing," said Carol Fiertz.

    “Having lived overseas before and enjoyed interactions with Muslims, it was a great opportunity for us to show two kids what it is like in the United States.  It is easy for all of us to see when we have person to person relationship that we really are just the same," said Randall Fiertz.

    Anti-American sentiment is high in many of the YES program students' home countries.  Rick Ruth denies claims that the State Department is trying to influence the students’ views.

    “Participants see what they see, hear what they hear and ask what they ask.  There is no message being peddled to them," he said.

    Students like Nada Omar say they learn not just about Americans, but about people from around the world.

    “Our classmates are actually from everywhere, not just America and they are very friendly," she said.

    About 900 students are brought to the U.S. to study under the YES program each year.  Program organizers say when they return home, they are better prepared to serve their own countries.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora