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Why YES Abroad is IEW

Brynn Tha Presentation

For International Education Week 2016, YES Abroad participants had the opportunity to share their personal international education experiences with the world, whether it was teaching people in their host communities about American culture and customs or sharing information about their host countries and their lives there with people in the United States.

Participants were encouraged to be creative in the ways that they participated in International Education Week (IEW), and it showed!  Participants gave presentations about American culture, made videos of their daily lives, cooked American food, wrote blogs about the importance of international education and studying abroad, and even connected with classrooms in their home communities to give American high school students an idea of what YES Abroad countries, their people, and customs are like.

In total, YES Abroad participants participated in 147 activities during IEW and had a direct impact on over 3,300 people in the United States and their host countries.

Ten YES Abroad participants were able to use International Education Week to do live virtual exchanges with their friends, family, and peers at home in the U.S. Arshia B. gave a virtual presentation to her American high school all the way from Macedonia to tell them about her experiences on program so far.

"It was nice to see familiar faces and new people who are interested in what I had to say. Also, I coordinated it with two of my counselors, who I am extremely close with and really helped me with my YES Abroad application, so it was nice to talk to them and show them everything I have accomplished here."

Kyra And Jaleh Iew Presentation Jaleh Apply Now Sign

Above and left: Kyra J. and Jaleh S. linked a high school classroom in North Carolina with classmates from their host high school in Skopje, Macedonia.

Other participants took the time to make videos promoting international education. Maria P. in Malaysia created a video log, or vlog, about her daily life, and students in Morocco interviewed their local classmates in order to teach Americans about life in Morocco.

Another popular activity this year was teaching English. Eleven different YES Abroad students taught English as part of their IEW activities, including four students placed in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, this group has been providing free English lessons to over 60 people of all ages in the local community each week since October. 

Maeve And Samantha With Students From Oš Šejh Muhameda Ef  Hadžijamaković

Above: Maeve B. and Samantha D. with some of their young students.

A number of participants added some flavor to their IEW experience by sharing American food with their host families. Madeleine B. in Thailand said, “I made pancakes with my Thai cooking class. Most of them had tried pancakes before at restaurants, but none of them had ever made them, so it was fun teaching them how to do it!” In the Philippines, Durowaa A. was able to return the favor to her host mother for all the cooking she does: “My favorite part of IEW was cooking with my host family because my host mom really enjoys cooking, so I had the chance to share my very, very small cooking skills with her. Usually it is the opposite way around.”

Above: (L) Madeleine B. makes American pancakes with her classmates. (R) Durowaa A. cooks dinner for her host family.

The most popular activity for students, however, was giving presentations about America to those in their host communities. Thirty-five participants—over half of those currently on program—gave at least one presentation if not more about the United States, including Grace W. in Malaysia, who learned a lot about her own culture in the process.

"I presented to my class today about the holidays, seasons, and culture in the great state of Utah! While putting the presentation together, I started to realize something. I realized that I do have culture! I know this seems like a strange thing to realize seeing as that is what YES abroad is all about. I used to think that to have culture you needed to have a cool traditional dress or historical dance. This week I learned first-hand that culture is so much more than that! It was so nice teaching my classmates about my lifestyle at home—they were all very intrigued, which made me so much more excited to share!"

Other ways that participants contributed to IEW was sharing American music, organizing Thanksgiving activities, and of course posting about their experiences on social media!

Interested in learning about a day in the life of YES Abroad participants and seeing their IEW efforts in action? Search the hashtags #YESisIEW and #yesabroad on Instagram to see what students shared.

Below: Grace W. with her classmates in Malaysia.

Grace Wason Iew