Participant Stories

Becca’s Time at the YES Civic Education Workshop

From February 22-28, 2020 almost 100 YES students participated in the first YES Civic Education Workshop of 2020 in Washington, DC. Six IRIS students were among this group. Throughout the week, students visited the U.S. Department of State, took part in various seminars and heard...

Deepanshu’s Trip to the Kennedy Space Center

This Christmas I got the best gift of my life from my host family. I went to my grandparents’ house in Florida for a week with my host mom. We planned a day-long trip to Kennedy Space center on Christmas day. I am a big...

Mercy’s Weather Adjustment

Before I came to the United States, I asked some of the Nigerian alumni to tell me some fun facts about Iowa. The first thing everyone told me is that it is so cold, as in freezing. My coordinator told me that there are some...

Mohamed’s American Football Season

Mohamed got a taste of one of America’s favorite past times during the first half of his exchange year: football. Mohamed from Egypt played as a cornerback this past season at Nevada High School. A cornerback is a member of the defensive team in American...

Farnaiza’s Experience at World Food Prize

The world’s population is going to hit 9.7 billion by 2050 and when that time comes, the world may not be able to sustain the amount of mouths to feed. And especially that climate change has brought up extreme challenges along with the rise of...

Where Are They Now? Part Two

We know it's hard to forget an exchange student once they finish their year here in the United States, especially as a host family. That’s why we started our “Where Are They Now?” series to ask some of our alumni what they have been up...

Where Are They Now? Part One

As our many host families know, you never forget your exchange student, and are often left wondering “What are they up to now?” At IRIS, we keep in contact with your alumni once they return home and are delighted to hear their stories of how they are impacting their...

A Brief History of IRIS

[caption id="attachment_20960" align="alignright" width="325"] IRIS's founder, Bob Anderson, addressing a room in Nigeria (2002).[/caption] During our 25th Anniversary Year, we plan to take a walk down Memory Lane by sharing highlights from our history at IRIS. Our organization wasn't always what it is today; in fact, our...

Iowa Student Global Leadership Conference 2018

[caption id="attachment_21027" align="alignright" width="600"] Hudhaymat, Hooria, Maryam, and Ruth pose for a photo at ISGLC.[/caption] Over the weekend of February 3rd, 2018, The Stanley Foundation hosted its 22nd Iowa Student Global Leadership Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.  All exchange students living in Iowa are invited to attend this...

Why I Came Back to Iowa

Faith Aruwan (YES alumna 2012-2013, Nigeria, hosted by American Councils in Cedar Falls, IA) first came to Iowa as an exchange student. She left after that year with a second family, a second home, and a goal: to return to Iowa for higher education. Since...