Writing this was the first time I’ve come face to face with the stereotypes I didn’t realize I was making when I was younger. I am forever grateful to my natural family, to the State Department, and to my host family for supporting me in this year. Exchange is often referred to as a catalyst for change in someone’s character and opinions, and that has proven absolutely true. It’s hard to measure the effectiveness of programs like this in statistics, but sitting here writing this next to my Muslim family, I am at home; I am happy. And that shows more than any percentage or pie chart could ever say.
The 11th anniversary of 9-11 is today. 9-11 will be an event that will forever define our generation, but it is up to us how so. We can be considered the age group that hates Muslims, or we can be the group that learned to love in the midst of tragedy.