Lifelong Impact Goes Both Ways

Chuck and Deb Felak enjoy a college football game with their host sons Faysal from Bangladesh and Mohammad from Pakistan.

"No matter where their lives take them, these are experiences that are going both ways and will impact our lives forever."

These are the words of Deb Felak, a repeat host mom from Pennsylvania. She and her husband Chuck have hosted seven students, most recently Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program scholars from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The Felaks shared a piece of their experience before Faysal and Mohammad departed for their home countries. Watch below.

Since 2003, students from 40 different countries including Egypt, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been studying in the US through the YES Program. An innovative high school exchange program funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this public diplomacy initiative builds bridges of international understanding, especially between Americans and people in countries with significant Muslim populations.

Top 5 Reasons to Host a YES Student

  1. YES students come from cultures in which family is highly valued along with tremendous respect for their elders.
  2. You can play a role in turning negative misconceptions about Americans into positive views for your student to share when they return home.
  3. You can experience all of the wonderful “firsts” in a new way: first snow, first hamburger, first baseball game, first Halloween, and all of the other American traditions that you love to share.
  4. As youth ambassadors, YES students can change negative perceptions about their countries among members of your community.
  5. Families who host YES students qualify for a reimbursement to help offset some of the cost of incidental expenses.