All PAX exchange students arrive speaking English at a level that will allow them to be successful at their American high school. After being immersed in American culture, host families, and school, some of them leave with a very impressive command of the language—and of course some unique insights into American English and even some regional variations.
Yasmeen came to West Virginia through the YES program from the Arab Communities of Israel, where most people are already bilingual. Their primary language is usually the Palestinian dialect of Arabic, and most also speak Modern Hebrew. The Arab Communities of Israel make up about 20% of the country’s population. Though she already knew some English, Yasmeen’s year in the U.S. allowed her to become so proficient that she’s able to help teach it! Here is what she had to say about helping her mother teach English in her home country.
As I came back home a month ago and figured that I am good enough to teach kids English, I decided to start volunteering in my mom's bilingual pre-school called Q Pre-School. I read English stories for kids daily, we sing songs in English, and we conduct most of our conversations in English. Since I've started doing this, my parents and I thought that my trip to the U.S. is actually having a good impact on me—especially dealing with kids and teaching English for them. I find it really cool to do this five days a week for six hours a day. I feel that it is fun and worth doing it. The kids are actually loving me and I am really happy about it.
—Yasmeen Fadila (YES, Arab Communities of Israel), hosted in 2015/16 by the Hose family (WV)