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Faces of FIUTS

Faces of FIUTS is a new campaign that collects personal stories from individuals who are part of our work. Follow FIUTS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see new faces every two weeks. All posts are collected on this page.

No matter what your role - alumni, homestay host, current student, program partner - we'd love to feature your story in a future post! To take part, email Ellen Frierson at or fill out the form to submit your information.


Faces of FIUTS: Meet Brooke

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Washington. I have lived here at the University of Washington for four years, but my parents live and work in Tacoma. My cultural background is Korean; my parents were both born in South Korea. I’ve visited there a few times, but have lived the majority of my life here in Washington.

What’s your FIUTS story?
I first got involved with FIUTS as an Ambassador for the SUSI program. It was a transformative experience. I’d always thought of myself as an open-minded person, but it was a different experience to really get to know people from other places and have real conversations about politics, culture, music, and much more. I still keep in touch with the SUSI students. It’s amazing to have their friendship in different parts of the world – any time of day, there’s always someone to talk to.

How will you change the world?
My goal is to become a physician and work with underserved minority communities as a family doctor.  I’m also interested in global health and would like to do trips with Doctors Without Borders someday. I hope to use my experience with FIUTS to bridge cultural gaps; I’ve developed a lot of communication skills that aren’t about language, that I hope will help me make connections with people from around the world.

Brooke Byun is a University of Washington senior majoring in Biochemistry and Communication, minoring in English. She was a UW Student Ambassador for the FIUTS Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) in 2016 and 2017.

Faces of FIUTS: Meet Daniel

Where are you from?
I lived most of my life in Mexico City, however I have also spent some time in Cologne, Germany and now in Seattle.To tell the truth, it just seems home is wherever you want it to be.

What’s your FIUTS story?
FIUTS welcomed me since my first year in Seattle, becoming a space to meet people from different cultures and exchange good moments. Besides from cool experiences, my best FIUTS memory was performing as a mariachi in last year's CulturalFest. Actually, after the presentation I was invited to a primary school to teach Mexican music, it was definitely a fun and enriching experience. This year I will sing again, don't miss CulturalFest this Saturday!

How will you change the world?
As a traveler and a professional, I will seek to share the same values that FIUTS spreads, promoting the mutual understanding and collaboration between people of different cultures, backgrounds and mindsets. It is always fun to both share our experiences and learn from each other, otherwise how can we truly grow as human beings?

Daniel Kapellman is studying for his Master of Science in Information Management at the UW Information School. He is a returning performer at the FIUTS CulturalFest Performance Showcase.

Photo credit: Lucy Deng

Face of FIUTS: Meet Kyki

Where are you from?
I'm from China, I'm a Chinese citizen. But on a cultural level, I'm also from all the places I've visited, because I've taken a part of all of them with me. I've studied, volunteered, and lived abroad in the U.S., Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Nepal, France, and Turkey. So I identify as a world citizen.

What's your FIUTS story?
During the first week of my freshman year, I was in the HUB and I realized I'd lost my credit card. My phone was dying and I was desperate and I didn't know anyone. I saw the FIUTS office and I went in and asked for help. The staff offered me comfort and a phone charger and helped me, and I realized that this was a safe space where I could be vulnerable, a welcoming place.

How will you change the world?
One goal for me is to keep growing and learning and willing to share what I learn. I want to fight against ignorance, and one of the ways I think I can do that is potentially to be involved in higher education, maybe to be a professor to build a safe but challenging space to support people's growth.

Jiaqi (Kyki) Li is a junior anthropology and dance major at the University of Washington. She is a current member of the FIUTS Student Board.


Face of FIUTS: Meet Rea

Where are you from?
I'm originally from a little village called Bobonong. But I grew up in a town called Francistown, the second largest city in Botswana. That's home too.

What's your FIUTS story?
When I applied for the SUSI program, it was the first application to anything that I had been completely honest in. FIUTS SUSI has been a stepping stone to me accepting me for me and being truthful for the first time. When I stand in front of people, I don't need to be afraid that I'm going to mess up, that I need to look a certain type of way. I can just be me. Because that's what got me here.

How will you change the world?
I want to teach people to accept their own story, despite the many negatives that might come with it. Our true stories should be our motivation to do everything that we set our minds to.

Tshegofatso Realeboga (Rea) Phatshwane is a participant in the FIUTS Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Civic Engagement 2017. She studies psychology and sociology at the University of Botswana.



Face of FIUTS: Meet Michel

Where are you from?
I come from Iquique, a city in northern Chile. It is the perfect mix between dessert, ocean, and Mediterranean weather.

What's your FIUTS story?
FIUTS is more than making friends, creating community and advocating for other international students. FIUTS has helped me develop my leadership skills, not only as part of an organization, but also an asset in my career as an educator. Through FIUTS educational programs I have had the chance to work with K-6 elementary students in their schools, not only presenting my own culture, but also assisting staff and coordinating groups of international students.

How will you change the world?
My plan to change the world starts in the preparation of new teachers. As an educator myself, FIUTS has given me the opportunity to explore how culturally sensitive and responsive new teachers must be within their schools and in their communities, especially when interacting and working with students who come from different parts of the world. This will be one of my ultimate goals in life.

Michel Riquelme Sanderson is a current UW student pursuing a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education. He has been a FIUTS facilitator, a member of the Student Board, and a K-12 Education Programs volunteer.

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Upcoming Events
Youth Ambassadors Program with Chile and Argentina Mar 22, 2017 - Apr 02, 2017
Culture Conversation Group Mar 28, 2017 05:30 PM - 07:00 PM — HUB 332
Under the Sakura Photo Fundraiser Mar 29, 2017 11:30 AM - 02:30 PM — The Quad at UW
Youth Program Summer Job Fair @UW Mar 29, 2017 02:00 PM - 06:00 PM — HUB 334
Upcoming events…