YES Programs



YES Students from Pakistan Celebrate International Education Week

YES students, Sahar and Rehan celebrating IEW with their classmates.

By Sahar Karim (YES 2022-2023, Pakistan, placed by PAX in Oshkosh, WI)

International Education Week (IEW) was one of the best weeks I have had so far. I have always loved talking about my country and culture to people from different backgrounds. During IEW, I gave 16 presentations to over 200 people in my high school. I was so surprised to know how everyone imagined Pakistan, and I am glad they got to know what Pakistan is actually like through my presentations. 

A lot of my audience envisioned Pakistan as a desert. They asked me a lot of questions and their curiosity to learn more about my country and culture made me so happy. I tried to cover everything in my presentations. From talking about the geography, government, environment to the different cultures, food and traditions, everyone was so curious to learn and know more. I also showed them my cultural items and currency that I brought with me. 

Sahar and her classmates holding the Pakistani flag.

I wore all of my cultural dresses during the IEW. I was surprised to see how everyone adored my dresses and the hand embroidery. They asked me more about how everything is stitched with hands.I taught them greetings in my language and wrote many of their names in Urdu. 

They were so happy to learn about Urdu and the different languages that are spoken in Pakistan. I am glad I represented my country, culture, and removed many misconceptions about Pakistan. This has been an amazing experience and I would like to thank the Department of State and the YES program so much for the wonderful opportunity. I am looking forward to sharing more about my country's culture and learning about the diverse cultures in the U.S.

By Rehan Malik (YES 2022-2023, Pakistan, placed by World Link in Fairview Heights, IL)

International Education Week (IEW) was the week I had been looking forward to the most out of anything in my exchange year. I started preparing for IEW way before I came to the U.S. I began buying traditional clothes and handicrafts to show them to people and to give some away as gifts,including pins, flags, bracelets, and even candy so that I could get people in the U.S. to taste Pakistani food.

IEW started off on Monday with me giving five presentations on the first day to my English class. During the presentation, I played the National Anthem of Pakistan, shared some basic information about Pakistan, presented handmade clothes and  currency, and danced to traditional music. After the presentation, I had a small quiz in which I asked my peers four questions and the first person to raise their hand and have the correct answer would get a prize. Everybody seemed really excited and paid attention to the presentation. Answering questions was probably my favorite part of the presentation. On Tuesday, the second day, I gave five more presentations to all of my U.S. history teacher’s classes. On Wednesday, I gave five more presentations to my Spanish teachers’ classes and  on the last day, I gave three presentations to my Accounting, French, and other U.S. history classes.

Rehan wearing traditional clothing and standing with a classmate.

Friday was a big day because that day our school held a cultural fair where the exchange students were in the library for three lunch hours sharing their culture with as many people as they could. I had my own presentation board and my own table where I set up Pakistani handicrafts. I was able to talk to people one-on-one and answer their questions as well. I danced with them to a traditional song and even gave them temporary tattoos of their names in Urdu.

After all of this, I calculated and found out that I had given 21 presentations to almost 450 people. I felt very proud of my country and had a lot of fun during this week.  Thank you to the YES program for this fantastic opportunity.