Sara Al-Zyoud is an exchange student from Jordan and a participant in the Department of State’s YES scholarship program. This year, Sara has excelled on her high school’s speech and debate team, competing with an original speech about her experiences as an exchange student. She shared some of her insights on this topic  and her experiences as an exchange student with Greenheart:

What have you learned about yourself during your time in Texas?

“I learned that I harbored skills within me that I never knew I had. There’s just something about being in a different country that pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you realize just how strong, brave, and skilled you are. My exchange year has definitely boosted my confidence and taught me things that I couldn’t have learned surrounded by the same places and the same people. I also learned to love and appreciate my country more. It gives you that sense of pride when you tell an interesting story about your country and people’s eyes just kind of light up.”

What do you hope you are able to teach your host community about your home country?

“Ever since I was younger, I’ve wanted to do something to change the world and I think Greenheart and the YES program have given me the perfect opportunity to do that. I think it’s important to show people just what Islam truly stands for and how the Middle Eastern region is more than just the stories you see on the news, especially during this critical period in the United States.”

Due to her stellar performance throughout the regular season, Sara has had the opportunity to compete in both the Texas Forensics Association State Tournament and the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in Kansas City this year.

Are you interested in hosting a student like Sara?  Greenheart is currently recruiting host families throughout the United States. Find out more about hosting here.