Tilyan finds her host state at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Breaking Stereotypes in Indiana

As human beings, we all have stereotypes about people, genders, cultures, and nations. This is perfectly fine, because it is human nature. But making an effort to break these stereotypes is what we need to make this world a better place to live.

I'm a Pakistani exchange student, and I'm living with an American host family in Indiana. Although I'm a Muslim, I go to church with my host family—it's interesting to learn about other's beliefs. Just as I've made an effort to learn about Christianity, I have also given American cuisine a shot. On the flip side, I enjoy telling my family more about Islam and sharing some traditional Pakistani dishes.

It has been almost a month since I arrived in the United States of America, and all I can say about America and the American people is that they are the sweetest, kindest, and most welcoming people I have ever met in my life.

And my host parents say that Pakistan and Pakistani people are the most amazing and loving people they have ever met in their lives.

Through these stories, I want to convey that no one in the world is good or bad, we all are all just different. The only way to know people and break stereotypes is through exploring and discovering.

We humans should not spend the rest of our lives labelling people according to our perspectives but research the facts and realities. This will make a big difference.

There is no good and no bad, just different, and that is what makes the world a unique place to live.

—Tilyan (YES, Pakistan), hosted by the Messmann family (IN)