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YES! June 6, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Travel, World Affairs.

Last night I arrived at my 1 week internship that I have probably only vaguely described to most of you. “I feel like I’m going to summer camp,” I said last night as I departed with a heavy load, including my swimming trunks and a soccer ball. Well, despite activities that resemble summer camp, its not (for better or for worse).

YES stands for the Youth Exchange Study program. It was established in 02 following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. High school students from Muslim countries study in the US for 1 year. They live with host families all over the US, and afterwords they come to DC for a Re-Entry Orientation, and a touring of the nation’s capital!

I am a Cross-Cultural Facilitator. I have been assigned 15 students to lead around the city, and facilitate discussions about their stay here and their return to their home countries. I am very excited and I’ll probably end up taking more photos than the visiting students will! Our visit to the White House sadly got canceled. Still, we will see the Supreme Court, the Capital, many museums, and the Department of State. I am probably most excited about meeting the kids, hanging out with them, and discussing the themes of the day. Two themes are, “The power of information: access and control” and “The Balance of Power.”

The other Cross-Cultural Facilitators are really cool, and it’s been fun getting to know them. Many worked in the Peace Corps, or else have studied or lived abroad. I jotted down some of the countries represented by our facilitating group: Pakistan, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Japan (2) Armenia (3), Senegal, Morocco, Jamaica (2), Jordan (2), India, El Salvador, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, Peru (me), and more.

Clearly, a group of cross-cultural facilitators should we well-traveled and we certainly are! One of the most interesting discussions we had today was when we shared funny, eye-opening, or mind-blowing stories from our time abroad.

Anyways, I’m excited about the week. Probably I won’t have much free-time, but I do now so I wanted to give you all a sense of what I was up to this week.


1. jflack4prez - June 10, 2009

haha true, you should be uncertain about that. I meant we “represented” it, by having lived there for some time.

2. jflack4prez - June 7, 2009

One more thing I wanted to add yesterday but forgot:

My 15 students are from these 8 countries…

– Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Israel, Mali, Senegal

The students begin arriving in 1 hour, at which time my blogging for the week will be effectively over. Upon weeks end I will surely be posting with some reflections. I’m super excited.

P.S. Lebanon is the country with the most representation in the program. This is especially interesting given the crucial elections today in Lebanon. I was especially impressed with the NYT article covering the elections, good reporting NYT!

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