Luggage! What should I pack?


What should I pack? What clothes should I take with me on my exchange year? What gifts should I take for my host family?

If you have these above questions in mind, you are at the right place. Today in this post, will be talking about what to take and what not to take on your exchange year. The following material is not for only a specific gender but for everyone.

  • What to pack in my luggage?

As far as the luggage is concerned, you need the following to be packed in your suitcase:

  1. A jacket
  2. A sweater
  3. 3 pairs of pants
  4. 3-4 t-shirts(for boys and for those girls who wear t-shirts)
  5. 1 pair of shorts( two quarters for boys and three quarters for girls if they want to wear)
  6. 1 pajama suit.
  7. 5-8 pairs of underclothing (must)
  8. 1 pair of suede shoes(sneakers)
  9. 1 pair of formal shoes
  10. 1 pair of flip flops.(Flips flops is the best option for everyday routine at home)
  11. 1 formal wear ( suit for men and a dress for women)
  12. 3-4 pairs of traditional clothing
  13. Traditional accessories.
  • What not to pack in my luggage?

The following will give you an ide of what not to pack in your suitcase:

  1. Shampoo bottles
  2. Food items that can spill
  3. Drinks
  4. Medicine
  5. Knife or anything with sharp edge including a gun J
  • What additional stuff I can pack in my hand carry?

The following is just a few things which students often ask if they can carry or not in their hand carry:

  1. Laptop
  2. Camera
  3. Cookie packs
  4. A pair of clothes for emergency
  5. A pair of shoes
  • What to take for my host family?

You are going on a cultural exchange program so it is always better to stay in the blanket of that three words. The following list will guide you what can be the few gifts you can take for your host family:

  1. Cultural wear for host dad. A handmade cap with mirrors, a suit from your ancient Chinese culture for your host dad.
  2. Jewelry for your host mother, ajrak, clothes with sitara work on it, African long dress, an arab burqa or a Turkish dress.
  3. Cultural miniatures including small rikshaws, inidan madras elephants with mirror work on it or a Chinese soldier miniature.
  4. Chinese calendars, Islamic Calendars.

The most important is to take a good behavior as a youth ambassador and show them what your people are, from where you belong.

Hopefully the above 4 questions were answered well for your knowledge. For any question, queries, feel free to comment below to get the answer right away. You can email us at You can tweet us at @ExchangeSs

Follow us on twitter to get the updates about exchange society right away @exchangeSs

Editor: Aqib Malik. Twitter handle is @AqibMalik9




Reverse culture shock


Heading home isn’t always easy. Many who repatriate, or have gone through repatriation, feel different and utterly out of touch. This article sheds light on what happens when culture shock is reversed, what to expect, and how to cope with its effects.


Just like expatriation, repatriation has its psychological phases that are unexpected and daunting. Most notably, encountering reverse culture shock when returning home is a surprising situation that’s overlooked by both expats returning and their businesses calling to come home.

Like culture shock, reverse culture shock has a number of stages; imagine this to be a U-shape curve. At first, you may be excited to return home — seeing friends and family members, wearing the rest of your wardrobe, and eating at your favourite restaurants. 

This initial euphoria eventualy wears off, and that’s when you find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture. This is the experience of reverse culture shock; it’s the bottom of the curve and often the roughest part. 

The good news is, although it may take time, you will begin a gradual adjustment back towards feeling comfortable with where and whom you are.

How it happens
“Reverse culture shock is experienced when returning to a place that one expects to be home but actually is no longer, is far more subtle, and therefore, more difficult to manage than outbound shock precisely because it is unexpected and unanticipated,” says Dean Foster, founder and president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, a firm that provides intercultural training and coaching worldwide.   


Foster explains that expats learn over their time in a host country “…to behave and think like the locals, to greater or lesser degrees, while on international assignment.” 

 “By the time most traditional international assignments come to an end several years may have passed, providing the international assignee a significant amount of time to learn new patterns of behavior and thought necessary to fit into their host country.”  

Foster points out that expats returning home are “shocked into the realisation that they have in fact changed substantially, usually when they encounter their home culture upon repatriating. Both they and their home culture have changed, and this is often the first time that expats have had the opportunity to experience any of these changes.”

What it is
As strange as it sounds, expats become less and less familiar with their home stomping grounds. Returning brings a blanket of fog on perception, like an audience member walking around in a setting that’s familiar but still unreal. 

Robin Pascoe, author of Homeward Bound, writes: 

“Re-entry shock is when you feel like you are wearing contact lenses in the wrong eyes. Everything looks almost right.”

Simply put, being an expat is such a lengthy and deep international experience it brings about great professional and personal changes. Old norms and values are viewed from a fresh perspective, and the expat and family see things in a new light; something like Dorothy going from black and white to Technicolor.Image

In addition, expats can begin to feel frustrated or confused when their close friends and family are anything but curious and intrigued about their experience. After all, the expat was gone to a foreign land for years, with sights, sounds and smells exotic and new. 

Expats returning home can expect their top re-entry challenges being: 

– Boredom
– No one wants to listen
– You can’t explain
– Reverse homesickness
– Relationships have changed
– People see “wrong” changes
– People misunderstand you
– Feelings of alienation
– Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
– Loss/compartmentalisation of experience
(according to Dr. Bruce La Brack from the School of International Studies at University of the Pacific)

How to cope

Share your experience with others
Although you might feel like no one wants to listen, there will be close ones who will support you with open ears and honest interest. 

Start a blog, contact friends you made as an expat, write articles — find new ways to incorporate your urge to share stories with an audience who will listen intently.

Maintain your style and stay international
Things might be different, people (including yourself) might have changed, but this doesn’t mean a repat should give up character and interest learned from abroad just to fit in. Maintain your lifestyle, from the food you ate abroad to the nature of your evolving personality. 

“Remember that being flexible and expecting the unexpected helped you get through the difficult times abroad. The same attitude can help you back home,” says the Office of International Studies at Northeastern University. 

“Reverse culture shock is a transition, and an important learning experience. Use this time to rebuild relationships, interests, and your new worldly self.”

Keeping an international perspective is a special skill not to take for granted or put away. Read international magazines and foreign newspapers, or access news from your host country via websites and forums. 

Ask for training
From an occupational point of view, to help expats have a successful repatriation Foster recommends training courses not just for the employee but the entire family that is returning. 

“It needs to involve the HR [human resources] department at least six months prior to the return, so that the company can ensure a position for the repats that value their new skills. Repatriation training helps the entire family adjust to the fact that they have all changed significantly while on international assignment,” says Foster. 

“Training will assess and value those changes, and see the ways their home country has changed while they were abroad.”

In the end, the transition requires patience and even more of an open mind than before. Careful preparation will ease the bumps experienced on the ride home for the entire family. Brace yourself for the shock and enjoy the unique thrills of seeing your home from this different and, in a sense ‘far out’, perspective.


Sneak Peek to emotions- DCOs

Here is a sneak peek to emotions and experience that KLYES batch is going through in their Re-Entry orientations in Washington,DC. For more follow #KLYES10 #iearnus @exchangess for more highlights.






Reverse Cultural Shocks- An overview.


A very short overview to the bigger account of Reverse Cultural Shocks which most people face upon returning home after spending a particular period of time in another country mostly U.S.

1. Jetlagged
2. Ordering Food in English
3. Tipping
4. Short bow or shake hands
5. Fashion and Body Language
6. Feeling great behind the wheel
7. American police officers are huge with a lot of weapons
8. Cultural Mannerisms and Intensity
9. Multicultural Consciousness
10. Standing out less
11. Bathtub
12. Sense of Physical Space
13. Overhearing conversations & Everyday Normality
14. Nuance of local and national news
15. Avoiding Pretentiousness

Nayab Mir shares her exchange story!

“I know these all are the things that I have never done before, but practicing them and experiencing how each one of those arts is like, is one of the greatest feeling of all times.” Read Nayab Mir”s, an KLYES student, year success story. A bit long but interesting indeed.


I arrived in America on September 1st 2012. Meeting people from different countries, talking, sharing, and listening to them was in itself a great experience. I was learning and teaching at the same time, but as they say, it was just a start. I was excited and fully pumped up about how I was going to spend my exchange year in the United States. Coming from a busy city with a population of 12 million people in a small town with a population of thirteen thousand people was a culture shock for me. I had never thought of experiencing a life with people who are independent, with people whose pets are one of their family members, in a country where everyone has freedom, where I will have to push the button up to turn the light on and learn to say “the magic words” for whatever I did or was about to do. Well this was where the experience started.

            I was placed with a family in a small town, Mexico in the State of Missouri. A place, where you never know how the weather is going to be like. If it’s raining one day, it would be warm the next day and snowing the day later. Getting adjusted to this changing weather was also a big challenge for me. Getting snow, and then getting a school day off just because it snowed, was pretty exciting. Speaking of the high school, in my country, we don’t get to choose what we want to study during our academic year at the school. We have a specific course which we have to go through by the end of the year and take exams. When in America, I was asked, “What subjects would you like to choose?” I stared at the counselor for a while and then asked if we really get to choose our subjects! That was the happiest moment for me, because I was going to get to choose the subjects which sounded interesting and exciting. I chose the coolest subjects which I had never thought I’d get a chance to study and get honor roll for, in all the semesters up till now! Finding friends at the high school was for sure a difficult job but not impossible. I never knew in such a short period of time I would become the favorite of my teachers. Hearing comments from them like, “your parents have grown you well” or “America needs to learn from you and your country” made me feel like I really was representing my country in a way that I was supposed to.

            I never thought I would take part in activities such as theatre, live performances, speech tournaments, choir concerts and sports like soccer. I know these all are the things that I have never done before, but practicing them and experiencing how each one of those arts is like, is one of the greatest feeling of all times.

            The country where I belong from is not a place where a lot of people have pets. In The United States, one of the things that I experienced was that almost every family has a pet. They just treat them like their own family member. They talk to them, they sleep with them. They even play with them, which at first I thought was strange. But after spending a couple of months here, I think pets are ones best friends! I don’t know how I changed from hating pets to loving them. But one thing that I’d like to mention is that I am really attached to the dog in my host family, and I will miss her a lot!

            Speaking of host families, I often get to talk to other exchange students too. No matter how delightfully they said they are close to their hosts, they still feel the absence of their natural parents and get homesick. I’d like to say, from the day I’ve been placed with this family, “I HAVE NEVER BEEN HOMESICK!” My host family is just the best family ever. Every exchange student would always dream of having a host family like mine. They are my true inspiration. I just feel like home, I can tell them whatever, I share all my problems with them, and they figure out solutions for each one of them. I just love them so much! Here I would mention that a lot of my friends had problems with their community representatives, they said they did not have a nice representative, or their reps don’t listen to them, or don’t help them out. But my area representative is just the best rep ever. One call and she is always there. She always helps me and appreciates me for whatever I do. She always tells me that she is proud of me, and is proud of whatever I have done up till now. She motivates me and encourages me to do more and more.  Amy is a great, nice and a very helpful person.

          When I sit down and start brainstorming things that I have done and am doing in my exchange year, my imagination never stops. I always think of more and more things that I have taken part in. One of those would be volunteering or community service. When I was back in my country, I had never done community service before, but because we are exchange students, we are always encouraged to do community service. I have taken part in different community service activities, and up till now, I have a total of two hundred and fifty-nine community service hours. I have tried to serve my host community with great variety and magnitude. I worked with educational programs, churches, hospitals and differently-abled and environmental projects.  I devoted two hours daily after school tutoring rural students in the Next Step Program.  My students ranged from kindergarteners to pregnant teens.  I devoted weekends to judging speech tournaments at my American high school.  I also passionately served as an ambassador for my Muslim faith and Pakistani culture by giving presentations about my country to breakdown stereotypes and misconceptions, and I am sure I have been very successful in that up till now. Giving presentations about my country has become a favorite job for me. Till now I have given 49 successful presentations at different places around the town and another one is scheduled for later this month. After which I will have a nice figure for my presentation count. 

At the Celebration of Nations event held in Owensville, MO, I applied traditional henna tattoos to all participants. I served the local Baptist church helping at the Halloween event and preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  I tried to show great compassion and support for those grieving when serving the County Health Unit in a memorial service event.  Lastly I socialized with and sang songs to handicapped people and planted trees for 12 hours in my neighborhood. Currently I am working with the live performances for the special children of my American high school. It’s known as, “The Jelly Bean Conspiracy” I work with special children and help them in the play. I have a couple more places, where in the following days. I have to do my community service at. Through this work I have learned that serving the community brings change.  Now I am eager to bring change to my home country through volunteerism.  

 Looking at my dedication to the community, my placement organization rewarded me with a President’s volunteer service award and a free trip. I got a chance to choose one free trip to any of the cities in the United States, and I chose California where I will soon be going and I cannot tell how excited I am for that trip.

 I had also applied for the Civic Education Workshop in Washington D.C from February 10-16, and I got a chance to attend that workshop, further more I was nominated as a social media specialist, and did dedicative work. I was presented a certificate on the last day, as a social media person, and also won the photo contest during the week. I have been taking part in different activities since I’ve been here, and have tried to make my year wonderful! Listening to what people think, and what their perspectives about my country Pakistan and all Muslim people around the world are, is just very hurtful. People have such wrong misconceptions and ideals about how we are like. Giving presentations I think is a great way to clear all the misconceptions and become a bridge between both beautiful countries and beliefs. I’d like to thank all the people who have become a great help for me, for making my exchange year successful! And I hope I’ll keep up with the work that I have been doing!

Civics Education Workshop

Civics Education Workshop

This year’s Civics Education week has been started. The students are off to DC for some exciting roller coaster week where leadership qualities await for them to get enmeshed in them.

Rehan meets the Senator, Mr. Bob Casey.

Hola Folks,

Once again one of our YES student, Rehan Zafar, has shared his exciting story with us. Rehan a former exchange student says, “This attracted senator’s staff and they discussed the politics and US-Pakistan relations with me for a long time.”  Lets read his story through his own words.

rehan“America – the land of opportunities has provided me with innumerable opportunities throughout my exchange year. Recently, I got a chance to meet the Senator of Pennsylvania and the chairman of the committee of South Asian affairs, Mr. Bob Casey. Walking into a magnificent hall with glorious chandeliers dangling from the roof which had eye catching carvings, I was very nervous. But when I met the senator, his friendly attitude made all my nervousness disappear. During my talk with the senator, I thanked him and the US government for providing us with great chances through YES program; I forwarded him the message of peace from my country, Pakistan which he received with great appreciation. I asked him: “What made you get to such a high position and how do you think I can achieve the same in my own country?” to which he replied with a smile: “I can see a commitment and motivation to do something for your country in you. Don’t let go of it.”

The main purpose of the meeting was to represent my country so for the purpose, I was wearing Shalwar Kameez, traditional dress of my country. This attracted senator’s staff and they discussed the politics and US-Pakistan relations with me for a long time. Senator Casey also wrote me a letter signed by himself wishing me luck for my future prospects. When I walked out of that hall with signed letter in my hand, I knew that I had achieved something, I had presented the message of peace in a good way and that I had learned a lot which will help me secure a better future for my country.
A proud Pakistani
Rehan Zafar”

If you want to share your exciting story with us, email us at

Follow us on twitter @ExchangeSs

Have a blessed day!

Christmas-The most wonderful time of the year.


Being an exchange student means to experience all types of cultures and to share your own with true knowledge. Like wise ‘Christmas’ is a part of the cultural exchange experience too.  Christmas is considered to be birth of Christ and is celebrated world-widely by the Christians. It is that beautiful time of the year where you will find almost every house lit with LEDs and decorations are no big deal. When you will find tress to be the most attractive thing of the universe and when Santa/ Angel is the only hope of any age group to have their desirable presents. 

Every host family has their own way to celebrate Christmas but the basic way to celebration is very common. After the morning prayers, every one exchange their presents. In some families they exchange gifts on the Christmas eve. 

Hope you get the basic ‘need to know’ information about Christmas to celebrate it with open hearts. 

Don’t forget to comment what you got for Christmas. 

Follow us on Twitter @exchnageSs for daily updates.

Email us your stories about the adventurous Christmas you had at

International Education Week – Nayab Fatima removes misconceptions.

‘IEW was one of the best weeks I have ever had’, says Nayab Fatima who is a current exchange student placed in Denver,CO. Without saying much, let’s hear her IEW story from her own words. 
Hello My name is Nayab Fatima Khan .I am an exchange student from Pakistan through Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange And Study Program(K-L YES).Here I stand before you to talk about my home country which is Pakistan.Pakistan is not what media portraits.It is something different and somehow one of the most beautiful countries in the whole world.
The above mentioned line was my first line when I gave my first presentation for International Education Week (IEW) – one week to celebrate the benefits of education and exchange worldwide.When I first heard about this week,thought it as a very productive opportunity to teach my class fellows and my teachers in US about my home country. IEW was one of the awesome experiences I have been through so far in my exchange year from exchanges perspective.This week gave me a lot of opportunities to talk about my home country. In this week I tried to remove the misunderstanding which was residing in the mind of many folks who use digital media or a part of it.  I talked about different topics such as Women In Pakistan,US-Pakistan relationship, Pakistani culture, cuisine, clothing, festivals, Young Pakistan,Pakistan as male dominated society and many other topics including funny tidbits. During IEW week I gave  7 presentations, in which my aim was to teach people about Pakistan as much as possible.
What was my reward? My reward was the appreciation and love which I received from the people. I was really amazed to see people’s reaction over that. All of them were so willing to learn more about Pakistan.One student said, “I really didn’t know much about Pakistan before but your presentation was good that I really liked your country.” I also got an opportunity to talk in front of all the school faculty members. As a whole IEW was one of the best weeks I have ever had. It enhanced my speaking skills, self confidence, inner happiness and made me realize the purpose of me being here in this society. Not only in this week but I would try my best to present a positive view of my country through my behavior,respect,love and affection for the rest of my time here.
Thank you.
Nayab Fatima.
Follow us on twitter to catch updates and live tweets: @ExchangeSs
You can email any question or comment to the address:

Thanks Giving – Brief Summary

Hello Folks,

When I was in U.S, I remember having difficulty in understanding Thanksgiving and it’s traditions. To be honest, Thanksgiving is a very easy to understand holiday tradition ever.

Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863. The event that some Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims ( travelers) to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World.

In the modern world, people celebrate it to give thanks for all the blessings they have by God. The great feast tradition differs from family to family. Usually every family gathers for a big great feast. The dinner table is filled with delicious and mouth watering dishes.


Firstly, baked or roasted turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table.  Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, various fall vegetables (mainly various kinds of squashes), and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived.

Above mentioned is a very brief summary of ‘Thanks Giving Day’. For any other question feel free to ask and comment below.

Thank You.

Twitter: @ExchangeSs

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