December 21, 2016

IEW Winners Share Culture and Pride with Communities

IEW Winners Share Culture and Pride with Communities

Throughout November, Ayusa students were busy sharing their cultures with their host communities for International Education Week (IEW). This event, sponsored by the Department of State, gives exchange students the opportunity to share their culture and traditions from their home country with their host community!

To celebrate IEW, Ayusa holds a special contest for its participating students and urges all students who make a big effort in their IEW participation to compete.

Our exchange students proved that they were excited to participate! Our students put in hundreds of hours of work preparing and presenting to their host communities, sharing their cultures and traditions.

Ayusa's IEW contest had many entries and all were very impressive! Our grand prize winner is Sumaiya, who is from Pakistan and living in Virginia! Our runners up are Atika, from Indonesia living in Washington, and Ann-Catalin, from Germany living in Florida.

We sincerely want to thank all students who participated. You truly have made a difference in your host community by sharing your culture.

Sumaiya Maqsood, a YES student from Pakistan living in Virginia, presented to well over 1,800 people throughout her 37 presentations. She not only presented in her own high school, she also presented at a local elementary school and even at American Councils, where she was in the presence of many officials from the state department and the education bureau. Throughout her many presentations, Sumaiya removed misconceptions her audience had about Pakistan. Sumaiya says she learned the importance of teaching and how even the smallest things can teach so much and change one’s point of view. She also learned how important it is to interact with people from different backgrounds in order to gain perspective and knowledge.

Atika Fitriani, a YES student from Indonesia living in Washington started each presentation with the traditional dance called "SAMAN" (thousand hands dance from Aceh, Indonesia.) Atika very much wanted to get her audience involved and did this partly by bringing articles of traditional clothing for audience members to try on during her presentations. She also demonstrated how to greet people (i.e. the difference between greeting an elder versus someone of the same age) and played a traditional Indonesian game with her audience. Check out a video of Atika's presentation here: (featuring the SAMAN dance at the beginning and a Q&A with students at the end.)

Ann-Catalin Wellkisch, from Germany living in Florida went above and beyond when sharing her culture with her community. Ann-Catalin presented to all German classes at her high school and all 3rd graders from a neighboring elementary school, since they were learning about different cultures. When preparing for her presentations, she thought to herself, "What would be interesting for students the same age as me?" She decided to talk about holidays and gave information about her hometown, along with teaching card games, and teaching the 3rd graders a song - a German version of "head, shoulders, knees, and toes." Ann-Catalin continues to share her German culture by participating in her school's German club and tutoring students who are learning German.

We also wanted to recognize Ceyda from Turkey and Charline from the Netherlands as honorable mentions!

We sincerely want to thank all students who participated. You truly have made a difference in your host community by sharing your culture.

Sharing cultures and building communities with high school exchange.

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