Hi. I'm Ahmed from Egypt. I'm a participant in the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, and I want to tell you about my experience in the United States of America. But as a start, I'm going to tell you about how I knew about the program from the beginning.
I knew about the program through my school in Egypt said that we could be exchange students to USA for 1 year. Actually for me, and for some of the other students, it was not just about being an exchange student, but being young ambassadors to represent our own country, Egypt. There were over 300 students all over Egypt who applied for the program, but the program only accepted 36 students. It was a big competition to be one of the best 36 out of 300 students all over Egypt, but the program's goal was to choose, not just the students with the highest grades, but the students who can really represent their country in an honorable mode.
I was one of two, who were chosen to dinner with the former Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell. I also had a great time talking to Mr. Grossman, Under Secretary of State. We were talking about the differences in the school systems, like uniforms; and that in Egypt, we stay in our class, but here we go to the teacher's class. Also, we talked about the differences between USA and Egypt, like in the elections. In Egypt, we say "Yes" or "No" for the president. "Yes" means we want him for the next term, but "No" means that we don�t want him to be our president. Also Mr. Grossman asked me, "What is your general purpose of coming to USA?" I said, "We came here to exchange cultures�to teach Americans about our culture and to learn about the American culture, then to teach Egyptians about it when we go back, hoping to make good difference on both sides."
During the first few weeks at my new high school, it was hard for me to get from class to class, because they are all so far apart. It was also hard to find my friends, because it is such a huge school. But after a couple months, I can say that it became "piece of cake." So, we are here to change and to exchange, and actually, it's a very good experience.