International Education Week (IEW) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education that encourages institutions to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from across the world to study, learn, and exchange experiences. During their exchange, YES students celebrate by giving presentations during IEW in their classes at school, at a church, a library, elementary schools and other places. This important aspect of the program provides a great opportunity for students to share about their cultures, religions, customs and more. YES alumni in Nigeria also had the opportunity to present to different schools during IEW this year. The YAAN Kaduna State Chapter gave four presentations to four different schools within the city of Kaduna.
Each presentation discussed a variety of subjects from their exchanges in America such as the cultures, lifestyles, schools, food and history. Afterwards, the students were able to ask alumni questions about their exchange year as a YES student. The alumni made their presentations very informative about the processes of becoming an exchange student as well as the benefits and requirements of the program. The alumni found these presentations similar to the ones they made while on program in the U.S. because the students were just as curious about America and its culture as the American students were of Nigeria. The students were also curious about America’s culture and lifestyles because all they know about America is what they see in movies and other stereotypes.
Abdullateef Abdullateef (YES 2016-2017, Nigeria, hosted by AFS in San Antonio, TX) believed the students enjoyed their presentations because a lot of the students came up to the alumni after the presentations to ask for their contact information. He also said that the students have been contacting him and asking a lot of questions about the YES program and other stories from his experience. Over the two days of presentations, the alumni presented to approximately 360 students from all four schools. While IEW only happens annually, the alumni are hoping to be able to speak to more schools during IEW next year.