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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid