Exchange Student Gives Back Through Volunteering

Denys is a high school student from Turkey who came to the USA as an exchange student with STS Foundation. After being accepted onto the program and preparing for his exchange experience, Denys crossed the Atlantic to join his host family in America. During his exchange year, Denys has been an active member of the community where he is spending his high school exchange year. Denys is an exchange student from Turkey who offered up his passions and talents to give back to the community that welcomes him by participating in the Helping Hands Community Service Project with STS Foundation. The bulk of Denys’s volunteering took place at his local library, as well as the town’s history museum. Here is what he shares about his volunteering experience:

Denys Bastan Denys Bastan_HF Wagaman (1)

“The biggest part of my exchange experience consists of volunteering. The public library and local history museum were my second homes here in the US, after my host family’s house. I’ve been volunteering at these places since October.

At first, I intended to volunteer at a library because I thought it’s a quiet, nice place to volunteer. I also like reading books and the environment of the library. But it turns out that it is the place where I will find great people! Volunteering at the library taught me a lot. I learned how to barcode, cover, and label books, DVDs, and audiobooks. I organized them as well. I also got the opportunity to see the historical town genealogy section. Volunteering at the library’s children's section was really nice as well.

I’m in love with history, that’s why I really liked volunteering at the history museum. We organized all the materials, including war clothes, old school uniforms, etc. It was amazing to see the historical records and everything in the museum. For example, I saw how the buildings that are abandoned now looked 100 years ago! It definitely helped me to understand my host town. I was mesmerized, especially when I first saw it.

I volunteered with amazing people, who helped me with a lot of things. As an exchange student, I recommend everyone to volunteer. It is the best way to get to know your host community and connect with people! I will miss each of them very much.”

Giving back through volunteering and community service is an important part of American culture. We are so proud of all Denys has achieved throughout his exchange experience and the positive impact he’s had on his community through volunteering his time and talents. As students travel back to their home countries at the end of their exchange year, they also take back with them this spirit of volunteerism and many go on to continue giving back long after they have left the United States.

Denys Bastan Denys Bastan_HF Wagaman (10)

Denys is a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) scholarship program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State which provides high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations the opportunity to live and study for an academic year in the United States. YES students serve as "youth ambassadors" of their home country, promoting mutual understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities.

Students just like Denys are currently dreaming about what their exchange year in America will look like and how they’ll be able to give back to their host communities. Learn more about our scholarship students and how you can make a difference in the life of a future leader when you become a host family.

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Exchange Student Gives Back Through Volunteering

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