It’s almost time for IRIS YES students to leave Iowa and return to their home countries with all they have experienced and learned over the last 10 months. Although IRIS YES students will be focused on creating a legacy in their home countries, they have also left an impact with their Iowa communities and host families.

Mark and Julia of West Liberty hosted an IRIS student during the 2012-2013 year and offer a reflection on the impact that their IRIS student, Mohammed, left on their lives.

“We recognize that the world is made up of people with many different opinions and views about life and about the things that effect each and all of us, but our IRIS ‘son’, Mohammed, affirmed our belief that we can respect each other even if some of our views are not the same, keep a Mohammed1
sincere smile and benefit from our shared knowledge and experiences.

We had expected not to host an exchange student this past year, though we had planned to host another student the following year. As the school year progressed, we missed all of the interactions with Mohammed and felt compelled to host another student. We are now looking forward with enthusiastic anticipation toward welcoming another IRIS student fo262657_458433174215671_1932557630_nr the coming school year

Our family seems to be more “normal” with an added member in the household. Hosting an IRIS student gives us a connection with a part of the world that we would not have had otherwise. Our presumption is that the IRIS students have earned the opportunity to be exchange students because of particular qualifications that indicate that they can interact well with others and be good ‘ambassadors’. We are happy to assist them as they do so. We also enjoy finding ways to share as much of our country and culture as we can.”


IRIS students are able to leave a lasting impression on their Iowa communities and families. If you would like to be a part of this experience call the IRIS office at 515-292-7103 or email .

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