Facing Challenges in Illinois
Exchange student from India with her soccer MVP medal at Illinois high school

Indian ends year with a win

Our life isn't as simple as we think it is. Our life isn't as easy as we would like it. Our life is as complicated as physical and mental games. Sometimes, our life stays as we wish, and sometimes there's no control over it.

The same is true of my exchange year. In the beginning, I struggled. I faced challenges regarding studies, friends, food, and more. I was homesick. But as I started to think positively, things started to get better. I started to seek help and things changed. 

Now as an exchange student, I feel proud of myself, because I learned a lot about life. 

Being away from my family taught me a lot. Now I feel braver and encouraged to try to make things better. In addition to this self-confidence, I achieved a lot in a short time. I got an award for the "most valuable female soccer player.” And I really felt happy because, in the beginning, I was scared to play soccer. But I did it. 

It was a great experience, being an exchange student. It doesn't matter how big or small my accomplishments are, it matters what I am taking back home with me. For me, even small achievements are really important—like self-confidence, positive thinking, staying calm, never giving up, always being brave in the face of the challenges, and never giving up without trying.  I have learned a lot. And now, I have a great experience to share with my family, friends, and community. 

—Sheetal (YES, India), hosted by the Tauber family (IL)