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IRIS welcomes KL-YES class of 2013

August 29, 2012

On Sunday, Aug. 12, Ames City Hall was full of laughter, nerves and tears of joy as IRIS united 15 students from 9 countries with their permanent host families.

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (KL-YES) students for the 2012-2013 school year arrived in Iowa on the previous Friday after spending a short time at pre-departure orientation in Washington D.C., where they prepared to spend 10 months in the U.S.

Students continued their preparation for life in the United States in Ames over the next 2 days by learning about the home, school and social life of a typical American.  IRIS staff conducted icebreaker activities, question and answer sessions, games and lessons in culture shock and living with a host family.

One of the favorite activities throughout the students’ time in Ames was the student-led presentations on their home countries. The energetic productions gave students a chance to teach others about their own culture. Several students even sang their national anthems. KL-YES students are expected to immerse themselves in American culture while educating Americans about their countries and cultures.

When they finished telling us about their countries, it was then time to share their preconceived notions of the United States. Students were shocked upon arrival to see so many trees and people driving on the right side of the road.

A primary concern for many was eating pork while in the United States. Due to religious reasons, some students don’t eat pork, while others simply prefer not to. Students from Thailand were also under the impression that Americans eat a vast amount of bread for each meal. IRIS served Chinese food to the students for lunch, and it was a huge hit. The spices were a little reminder of home for many (especially Nigerian students), and the rice was appreciated by all as a familiar food.

Although some students focused on food and the atmosphere, for others, mannerisms and attitude came to mind first. “Americans are independent,” and “I thought Americans were going to be rude,” were two comments made. One student had even heard most Americans walk around fully armed from day-to-day.

Before getting back into student-mode, the students spent their spare time taking pictures with each other as well as sharing stories and music.

The orientation continued with IRIS’ KL-YES coordinator Christelle Enega stressing the importance of following rules and doing chores at their new household. They were told how to address their host parents, and how to greet people in America.

Lastly, the students spent their final moments together as the IRIS group composing individual letters to themselves, describing their hopes, goals and expectations for the upcoming school year. The letters will be returned to the students just before they return home in May.

Finally, the long-anticipated moment the students had been waiting for approached; the host families, including parents, children, cousins, extended family and friends, all greeted the students with open arms.

15 KL-YES students left with their host families to start their year in America that Sunday, and 3 students arrived within the following weekend. IRIS will be welcoming 2 more students from Pakistan and Yemen shortly, totaling 20 students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Below is a list of the high schools they are attending throughout Iowa and photos from their weekend in Ames.

  • Ankeny High School
  • Atlantic High School
  • Boone High School
  • Burlington High School
  • Cedar Falls High School
  • Fort Dodge High School
  • Fort Dodge High School
  • Grinnell High School
  • Grundy Center High School
  • Hampton High School
  • Hoover High School
  • I-35 High School
  • Indianola High School
  • Jefferson-Scranton High School
  • Swea City High School
  • Valley High School
  • West Liberty High School

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. james chungu permalink
    September 20, 2012 3:55 AM

    This website will be so helpful because we got to know how our fellow students going and also we get updates in a right time.The class of 2013 will be so unique and gorgeous ever

  2. nasra nassor permalink
    October 3, 2012 9:07 PM

    This is great! I have seen the moment that we all stayed together as if we knew each other before, even though we were from different countries but we were able to get together as one. Thank you IRIS for making YES10 a great group.

  3. October 15, 2012 1:59 PM

    i donot under stand any thing how do i get to know that weather i am selected or not?

    • October 16, 2012 3:22 PM

      If you have completed your pre-selection exams, please contact your country coordinators to learn the results of your scores and whether or not you continue in the competition.

  4. October 20, 2012 6:29 PM

    no no i have just submitted the forms not the slep tests or etc……plz tell me how do i know i am selected or not .I am so great at English that i am sure that i can surly win this competition easily just if my forms give a chance.

    • nasra nassor permalink
      October 27, 2012 5:31 PM

      I am an exchange student this year and and for us our country coordinator called us and that is how we got to know that we were selected so if you are selected you will surely receive a call.

  5. annas solomon permalink
    December 9, 2012 6:55 PM

    your photos are really nice.

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