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YES ABROAD!

So YES (or by it's full name: Youth Exchange and Study) is how I have the chance to study in Thailand for a year by an amazing scholarship. After a process of an application, interviews, and individual/group evaluations. YES is funded by State Department, and has given 50 fully paid scholarships to high school students (or recently graduated) around the country. 


YES has a purpose to send American students to countries with significant Muslim populations (the countries for this year [2011-2012] were Ghana, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Oman, and Thailand) to create bridges of understanding with the countries they are sent out to and to attempt to clear and minimize many cultural misunderstandings. YES selects the finalists, pays for the tuition, and works with a couple of different exchange student programs to send the students abroad. I will be going to Thailand thanks to AFS to Thailand!

AFS Intercultural Programs began as the American Field Service (AFS) back in 1914 soon after World War I broke out. When young Americans who were living in Paris at the time, they volunteered to be ambulance drivers at the American Hospital of Paris. AFS has been a part of 0every major French battle and has carried out more than 500,000 wounded people out during World War I. By the end of the World War I, 2,500 men had participated and served in the American Field Service along with the French Armies.

Once you know if you are a finalist or not, you get your country assignment! The day I found out where I was going, I let EVERYONE know... I was beyond GIDDY. I googled my host country all the time! Prior to your departure, you will have conference calls with the rest of the finalists and your last conference call is the country-specific call. From there, you will go to Washington D.C. and have an orientation there.. No words can describe that orientation. It is FANTASTIC. Finally, you will have a gateway orientation, maybe in New York, California.  From D.C. you will go home for a bit (a couple weeks or maybe 2 months or so) but your gateway orientation maybe your orientation in D.C., meaning once you go to D.C., you won't return home, you will go to your host country.


So are you interested!? For the YES scholarship you must first summit an online application. The application may seem long, but if you really want it, it starts to shorten[: My application consisted of a host family letter, quite a bit off all this medical information, transcripts, and multiple essays.  From all of the students that had applied to receive this scholarship, YES then selects 75 semifinalists to send to somewhere in the U.S. (it changes every year, for my In Person Selection Even- IPSE, I went to Denver, Colorado) for a 3 days interview.  The interview includes individual and group interview sessions. This part is just amazing. You meet so many amazing people... They are all indescribable.