Nigerian Exchange Student Says “Every Week is International Education Week!”

Each year, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education encourage exchange students to participate in International Education Week (IEW). This is a week-long celebration that helps promote exchange in communities around the country and prepare Americans for a global environment. Ismail from Nigeria, a YES Scholarship student placed in Tennessee, embraced the challenge and did five presentations around his school and community! Here’s his IEW story.

Ismail IEW

Ismail's participation in IEW marked a significant and enriching experience both for Ismail and for the people with whom he had the opportunity to share his culture. The week unfolded as a platform not just for academic exchange but as an opportunity for Ismail to impart knowledge about Africa and Nigeria to his peers, both within his school and the local community.

Reflecting on this experience, Ismail shared, "IEW was an exceptionally enlightening week for me, enabling me to educate a diverse audience in my school and community about Africa and Nigeria." This shows the profound impact of IEW in fostering cultural understanding and dismantling preconceived notions.

Ismail gave presentations in front of various classes including Spanish, Computer Science, Contemporary Issues, English, and even at his host parents’ church. He stated, “It honestly means a lot to me that I was able and given the opportunity to provide a clear perspective on how things work in my country and dispel some misconceptions.” Ismail’s dedication to dispelling stereotypes reflects the transformative potential of such cultural initiatives.

Ismail went beyond traditional presentations. “I shared my culture by displaying full cultural clothing, teaching Nigerian slang, showcasing the types of food, the diverse tribal traditions, dressings, vegetations, and more.” This immersive approach aimed at allowing the audience to experience the vibrancy of Nigerian culture firsthand.

Among the facts Ismail shared, one stood out – the absence of snow in Nigeria due to its equatorial location. “One of the things people were most shocked to find out was that it never snowed in Nigeria as it’s close to the equator and isn’t really as cold as most parts of the USA.” This fact served as a catalyst for discussions on geographical diversity and dispelling common misconceptions.

Ismail Muhammad_HF Ward (6)

Ismail's educational journey during IEW was not one-sided. "I learned a lot of things last week and this week when I was teaching about my culture and found out how Americans ACTUALLY live, and it’s pretty amusing with all the freedom and a whole lot more things." This mutual exchange of knowledge encapsulates the essence of IEW, emphasizing the reciprocal nature of cultural understanding.

Ismail's IEW experience serves as a testament to the transformative power of cross-cultural education. His efforts contribute to fostering a world where diverse perspectives are not only acknowledged but celebrated. As Ismail noted, "every day is IEW for me," reminding us that the pursuit of knowledge and cultural exchange extends beyond a designated week, constituting an ongoing journey toward global understanding.

One of the best things about hosting an exchange student is that you don’t have to travel to a new country just to discover the many cultures the world has to offer! Simply become a host family and invite the world into your home, you’ll be surprised by how much you learn and how much you have to share with and teach your student. Learn more about how you can help make every week in your home International Education Week, and sign up to host!

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Nigerian Exchange Student Says “Every Week is International Education Week!”

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