Today we shine the spotlight on Nesrine from Tunisia! She is staying in Nebraska with the Clouse family. Nesrine is studying here with the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program sponsored by the US Department of State. Read on to hear more about what Nesrine has been up to!
Hello, I’m Nesrine an exchange student from Tunisia in North Africa. Today I’m glad to speak about a traveler – a Tunisian teenage girl who left her home, said goodbye to her family and friends knowing that she would not see them for a whole year. She brought her country to Nebraska and she will take Nebraska back to her home, halfway around the world. I have always dreamt of becoming an exchange student especially in the country that stands so tall on the world stage, The United States of America. Even though it sounded impossible at the beginning, this dream became true thanks to hard work and thanks to my family and friends back home. I made it and I’m having the best moments of my life!
It is necessarily a little bit different from what I am used to but is unique and this is what the experience is all about. I discover new traditions, cultures, food and share our Tunisian traditions at the same time. And I had this opportunity during International Education Week and I am still doing it now, presenting about my country and giving it the image it deserves.
During International Education Week, I did more than 12 presentations. I gave the presentations in all my classes at my high school and with kids in the intermediate and elementary schools. I played Tunisian music for them, we danced and watched cartoons in Arabic and French (first and second languages of my country), and I also printed out Tunisian flags which we colored in together.
I also did a presentation at the university where my host mum teaches and they liked it so much. My other presentation was with a women’s club. They were very interested in knowing more about my country. I also cooked a big Tunisian traditional meal with my host family in the local church for more than 100 people, and that was just incredible!
I think that the most important thing about my experience so far is having such a great American host family! They teach me about America, we travel, we cook together, we practice, we go to music events, and I get to tell them about my country and improve my English as well. My family has extended to include five more members in these three short months, which is just so special.
I also love the idea of being an American student in such a wonderful high school. I made a lot of friends from all over the world… and those are life-long friendships for sure. We speak different languages, we have different religions but we have a common goal: creating a better understanding between the US and our countries.
At school, I am not just focusing on academics like college calculus and English, I also take Spanish and concert choir which gives the experience a great taste. The school also provides many clubs, like speech, environmental club, FBLA and lots more that give me opportunities to be a better person every day.
I am also enjoying volunteering, I have done more than 100 hours of community service so far. However, this is not what matters the most, it’s the idea of helping people, drawing a smile on their faces, finding the pursuit of happiness that I love.
Finally, my host family and I always listen to Nahko, so as he says in one of his songs;” I’ve come to build a bridge, So come, let’s build. Let’s do it and spread love and share cultures all around the world.”
Thank you so much, YES program and Aspect foundation,
Nesrine from Tunisia