While many YES students and community members got involved in International Education Week this year, some students REALLY got excited about it. Like Hassan from Gaza, who posted significant IEW content at least 12 times online throughout the week! Below, Hassan shares more about his IEW experiences.
By: Hassan AlAlami (YES 2018 – 2019, Gaza, hosted by AFS in Santa Clarita, CA)
I did eight presentations during International Education Week, and in my presentations I discussed many points. First, I talked about my journey to the US and the obstacles I faced to be in here in order to break the cultural gap and represent my country. Second, I gave the students a brief explanation about IEW and the opportunities they can participate in to study abroad and discover the world.
Third, I provided a lot information about my home country's geography, food, culture, holidays, national icons, and history. I used the Show and Tell strategy, so I brought my traditional clothes and traditional food. I also taught students some words in my language and how to dance the national dance in my country "Dabkah".
Finally, a lot of the Americans don't know about the conflict that is going on in my country, so I gave them my first-hand perspective. We discussed the ways people can push the peace process forward.
IEW was a phenomenal experience for me to be an ambassador of my country, teach and absorb cultures, and pass peace forward. During the IEW I was wearing my traditional clothes at school for one day and this was the best thing. I was happy that a lot of people don't judge from the appearance and they knew that the bad stereotypes are fake. I got some bad reactions, but I talked with these people and told them the real story which made them feel sorry. The good thing is that I educated them not to judge a book by its cover.
Culture, and peace, and exchange are a big part of promoting peace in this world which is a big mission of the YES program. Thanks for the US department of State for such a great opportunity to spread the understanding between people in this world.