-by Ellie Stoeva, YES Alumni 16-17
Hi, my name is Ellie Stoeva and I am one of the lucky students from Bulgaria who won a full scholarship from the YES Program to go and study in the United States for a year in 2016/2017. My placement organization was ASSE and I was hosted in San Antonio, Texas by the wonderful family of Jason, Cherie and Claire Gilmore.
My entire year was incredible and full of breath-taking moments. I got to learn about the American culture, make new friends and try new things in the coolest high school in the world- Louis D. Brandeis. I consider myself to be the luckiest girl in the world for getting this opportunity, but I am most grateful for having such an amazing host family.
The Gilmores took me as one of their own and treated me like a family member from the very first moment we got in contact. We shared passions for the same movies and activities like Harry Potter and theatre. They would help me with anything and everything throughout the year and give me the best advice possible. My host father is the funniest person I’ve ever gotten the chance to meet, my host mom is probably the wisest and most inspiring person in my life and my host sister was so lively and full of curiosity and goodness. Probably my favourite memories with them must be the times they would play pranks on me. One time I was coming home from babysitting with my best friend and I found my room all covered in paper notes, balloons and ribbons. It took me and my friend an hour to clean up and unpack every single one of the items I owned that was also wrapped in wrapping paper. It was the most hilarious thing that has ever happened to me!
My host family also had a very love and caring side too. They were very interested in and had great respect for my culture. They were always excited to try the traditional Bulgarian meals I made. My host dad really loved Bulgarian banitsa and one time when I was making it and apologised for it taking so long he simply said: “It’s Ok, you can’t rush art”. For my name day they decorated my room and our kitchen table on theme with my favourite movie Beauty and the Beast – they covered my room floor with rose petals and made special rose vases for our table. In return I cooked traditional Bulgarian foods like – “banitsa, sarmi, shopska salata and mlqko s oriz”. We all enjoyed the delicious food at a special dinner for my name day. To say that they were incredible people would be an understatement. They supported me throughout the year, taught me how to be more confident and love myself, be more open minded and fight against injustice in the world. I am so happy I have them in my life and still keep in contact with them to this day.
I am so lucky and grateful to the YES Program for granting me with the amazing opportunity to study and live in America for a year, create life-long connections with people and be able to call the amazing Jason, Cherie and Claire my second family. I encourage everyone to apply to get a chance for a taste of this incredible experience.
Apply now for YES scholarship if you want to live and study in USA for the 2018-2019 academic year on: ais.americancouncils.org/yes
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