The alumni of the Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina are hard at work using what they learned in the U.S. to do great projects back in their home communities. Here's a blog post about an initiative from four participants in last Fall's program!
By Elena Ourdan, YLP Bosnia Fall 2014
After we got back from the USA, Ena, Adna, Nejra and I knew we wanted our follow-on project to be a humanitarian action. We debated a few hours on what exactly we wanted to do, until we came up with the idea of organizing an art exhibition where we would expose photographs, drawings and paintings made by high school students from Sarajevo, and give the money to charity.
First, we searched for galleries that would lend us the space we needed, and had enough luck to come across one who was willing to do that without charging us. Then we used social media to let people know there was going to be a humanitarian exposition, which we had named « Students in action », and that those who are interested in photography and fine arts could send their work on our email. The results were amazing. We received almost 200 pictures in only a few days. Choosing what we would exhibit was really hard, but after two hours spent arguing and voting, we managed to pick out 20 paintings and 20 photographs.
The next step was to print them out and frame them. One of our friends was kind enough to offer his help and print the books we decided to sell there as well, photos and the posters for the promotion of our exhibition for free. Then, we had to find someone who would frame all that in minimum expense, since we were afraid we would exceed the budget that was given to us. Thanks to some contacts, we found out about a man who was able to do that in a short period of time for an appropriate price, and we quickly went there and made a deal.
Presenting certificates to those who donated art
When the day of the exhibition finally came, we used up the entire morning deciding where would each picture go on the wall, buying refreshments, getting our opening speech ready and trying to prepare ourselves for the afternoon.
People slowly started arriving at 6pm, and the place was filling up. The amazing choir we asked to come open the event sang three short songs, and then Adna and I held our welcome speech, where we explained to people how they could buy anything that was on the walls or those books, and that there was a box for the ones who wanted to give money without necessarily buying any of those things. More than 150 people decided to spare some time and came to support high schoolers and their art, but also to donate the money some people desperately need.
The choir singing at the event
The four of us not only had a lot of support, but we were also helped by friends of ours who came to every meeting we had and gave their best to contribute to this event. We are very thankful to them and every person who came that day and proved that united we can make something happen. The outcome of this project was further than amazing. We raised more than 1,000 KM (about $600), which surpassed any of our expectations.
A great turnout!
We are already thinking about what we could do next while keeping the name « Students in action », because now we know how many teenagers out there are willing to participate and help others.
The Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the program here.
By FIUTS Facilitator Kevin Sander
If you aren't drinking a local brew, you are wrong. Glass bottles are better placed in art projects than they are with the rest of the recycling. Roasted marshmallows are just as good on a cold, soggy night as any other time. These are some of the things we learned from the Oregon Coast.
Some German universities really do have strong school spirit. Buddhism encompasses many nondenominational systems of personal beliefs, some of which run counter to the canon of the traditional, main branches. Roasted platanos con queso fresco are absolutely delicious. These are some of the things we learned from those we went with.
Twenty-two of us from ten different countries set off for the weekend beach getaway of Seaside and the mix of the salty sea breeze and some strong personalities made for some good chemistry. Our SUVs were filled with lively chat and debate all the way down to the coast and it didn't end until we separated at the Burke Museum two days later.
Our first day was filled with exploration, first of Astoria, then of Seaside. In Astoria we found an array of delicious lunch spots and a waterfront worth wandering. Our time there was spent discussing the local history and culture and explaining why the local treat of fish & chips at Bowpicker wasn't just fast food.
After Astoria, we reunited in downtown Seaside. Seaside's main strip would be instantly familiar to anyone from beach towns of the east coast and south, but we figured that few from those places would as bravely face the Northwest sea as the kids we saw frolicking in sixty degree weather under clouds. For dinner we gathered at the Seaside Brewing Company where we could sample local and seasonal beers all while playing Jenga.
On our second day, we hit the road to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. The place was packed with eager cheese lovers like it was an amusement park - a sight somewhat inscrutable to our international party. Trying to explain how cheese could inspire such fanaticism proved difficult, but at least everyone agreed that it was a unique experience.
The rest of our Saturday was spent exploring various beaches and points of interest along the coast before we eventually found ourselves back at Seaside for a bonfire. Everyone brought things to roast and share, so the variety was quite impressive. We had everything from plantains and corn cobs, to chicken legs and oysters, to more standard American fare of hot dogs and marshmallows. It rained sporadically, but it didn't seem to faze any of us who were too busy discussing culture, religion, sharing stories, and enjoying good company to notice.
During the morning of our last day we split up to explore more beaches, go kayaking, or do some shopping in town. We met up again at Fort Stevens near Astoria before we had to head back to the Burke. We climbed all over the old WWII fort and took in the scenic landscapes around us in the sun. We lingered for as long as possible as none of us quite wanted to leave the park or each other, but sure enough we forced ourselves to get back to Seattle and return to normal life.
The Oregon Coast is a getaway home to so much of what makes the Northwest special: rainy beaches, picturesque landscapes, local cuisine and beverages, and a people that are intensely proud of it all. Through FIUTS, we were able to experience this unique region through dozens of distinct lenses reflecting the diversity of our perspectives.
Join FIUTS for an upcoming event! Check out our online calendar to see what's happening.
The quarterly FIUTS Photo Contest is an opportunity for members of the FIUTS community to share images from around the world. The theme for this quarter was "There's No Place Like Home" and we received photos from all over the world of places that remind members of our community of what home means to them. We also had two ties for second place and for third place - so this quarter, everyone's a winner!
Take a look at the beautiful images below and keep an eye out for information about the next photo contest, which will be in Fall quarter. Thank you so much to everyone for sharing your beautiful pictures!
First Place: Almora, India
Photographer: Rajesh Chaunsali
"The photo was taken at Almora, a town in the lower Himalayas. It aptly captures the traditional houses in the Himalayan villages surrounded by mesmerizing scenic beauty."
Second Place: Issaquah, Washington
Photographer: Wenjie Li
"This photo was taken last Christmas at my friend's parent house in Issaquah. Well designed table, awesome food, loving parents... No other thing can compare with the "Christmas LOVE". LOVE is essential of home."
Second Place: Bari, Italy
Photographer: Fabio Anaclerio
NAME OF THE PHOTO: TEATRO MARGHERITA
This theater, TEATRO MARGHERITA, was built literally within the sea by my fellow citizens, to avoid an old law according which: only one theater was allowed on Bari soil. Bari already had a theater and the rich owner claimed to this law to impede "common people" to enjoy the noble art of drama, in fact in his theater only rich people, politics and members of the clergy were allowed.
TEATRO MARGHERITA was burned several times, but my compatriots always reconstruct it stronger.
When some years later the other theater, TEATRO PETRUZZELLI, catched on fire, my fellow citizens allowed its owner to perform all the shows in TEATRO MARGHERITA, showing their magnaminity.
Today, free exhibition and fairs take place in TEATRO MARGHERITA .
For all this reason, and due to the fact that it was built within the sea, in a town which main business is fishing, it has always been considered the real house of all BARESI...
Third Place: Magdalena, Colombia
Photographer: Maria Artunduaga (Colombia)
Title: "Returning for supper"
Ciénaga de Pijiño. Magdalena, Colombia
School in the morning, and a full afternoon along his father fishing in the Ciénaga; makes up the daily routine of this Colombian 16-year old boy. This time, they made room for the occasional tourists who wanted to explore the area in their middle sized boat. The sunset signaled the time to go back, the most beautiful colors set our path home. Marveled by the landscape, I asked him what he thought of his daily journey. "This is usual" - he said to me in a soft voice - “...there are no roads to get back home, the river is all we have.” And there I was, thinking that I had witnessed the most incredible sunset of my life, what I really saw was the tenacity and resilience of my people.
Third Place: Cabugay Gamay, Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo, Philippines
Photographer: Fritzie T. Celino-Brady
Cabugao Gamay is one of the islets in the Islas de Gigantes, an island chain which is part of the municipality of Carles, Iloilo, Philippines.
Iloilo is my home province and is located in the Western Visayas region of Philippines.
Do you have information about a part of our campus or community that you'd like to share with incoming international students? If so, you are invited to join FIUTS in welcoming over 2,000 new international students to the University of Washington as an information session presenter this September!
FIUTS International Student Orientation is a 10-day program for international undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students and scholars beginning their studies at the UW. The orientation program includes social events and informational sessions designed to introduce students to important resources on and off campus, make friendships, explore our city, and support a smooth transition to the UW community.
From Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25th, over 40 information sessions will be offered to new international students on a variety of topics. Sessions take place in the HUB, with two to three sessions running concurrently, and each session lasting about 50-minutes. Attendance ranges from 25-150 students per session. This year, sessions will be offered in six thematic areas: Campus Resources, Seattle Community, American Culture, Jobs & Internships, Housing, and Health & Wellness. Sessions can be presented by multiple presenters - from campus and the community - and in various formats. We encourage collaborative, creative and interactive session proposals!
To Submit a Session Proposal
Please complete a short online session proposal form by July 13, 2015. Selected presenters will be notified and scheduled by the end of July.
On behalf of the new students joining our community, thanks in advance for your support!
FIUTS Facilitators are student leaders from all over the world who welcome new international visitors, help to organize events, and lead activities for hundreds of students each quarter. Read on to find out more about the FIUTS facilitator experience from Isabella!
We are raising funds this month through our Annual Campaign to continue to provide training and support to amazing students like Isabella. Click here to donate to the FIUTS Leadership Development Fund!
Name: Isabella Kunru Ning
Major: Pre-Molecular &Cell Biology
FIUTS Facilitator Since: Feb.2015
Hi everybody! My name is Isabella and I’m a freshman from Chengdu, China pre-majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology! I became a FIUTS facilitator 2 months ago and I now have facilitated for about 15 events! (Right! Around 2 events per week!) I really enjoy being a facilitator at FIUTS cause I always get the chance to know people from different countries, different backgrounds and different cultures! Isn’t that cool that you can experience the whole world by just participating in FIUTS?
I’m so happy that I get the chance to share my personal experience with FIUTS here and hopefully I’ll meet you in person in the future events!
What does it mean to be a FIUTS facilitator?
I received emails from FIUTS couple months ago before I arrived on campus. From reading the emails I got to know all the useful information for a freshman at my new arrival. After that I participated a lot of FIUTS events such as Opening day, Scavenger hunt, Cruise, and Gas work BBQ… they were all fun and left incredible memories in my mind. FIUTS facilitators were working effectively with high efficiency. I always want myself to be one of them to help more people.
FIUTS facilitators are the ones who represent the whole FIUTS to make everybody in the community feels welcome and be cared about.
Favorite FIUTS anecdote as a facilitator
My favorite FIUTS event is Wednesday lunch! I really like food and also during Wednesday lunches I can always meet new people, enjoy wonderful conversation and wonderful food with them. And also its very convenient, just come after your class and leave whenever you want. Wednesday lunches provide the opportunity for people to gather together and build up personal connections regularly. And the food there is incredibly good too!
Tips/comments for peer facilitators
-Don’t be shy! Everybody is nice and everybody is there willing to help so just go ask when you need it!
-FIUTS is a community so we want every student to feel welcome. Especially in the events, go talk to people you do not know instead of staying people you are already familiar with. Just practice!
-Be confident! FIUTS is awesome and so are you! - FIUTS facilitators are awesome too!
Learn more about the FIUTS Facilitator program
More Facilitator Corner posts:
Sunita Yang has been the FIUTS Student Board president this year and has written about how FIUTS has helped her to grow as a leader. Read her post and donate to the FIUTS Leadership Development Fund to support student leaders like Sunita during our Annual Campaign, now through June 30!
Hello! My name is Yi Yang, and most people call me Sunita. I am a senior major in Communication and Asian Studies. I define myself as a dreamer, traveller, laughter, communicator, leader and hard worker. On this blog post, I am going to write about my leadership experience with FIUTS and my reflections as a leader.
In this past week at the Spring Service and Leadership Celebration, as the current FIUTS Student Board president, along with other extracurricular activities I’ve been involved with, I attended the both the oral and poster sessions to present to the larger UW community about the projects I’ve accomplished in order to serve the communities.
Joining FIUTS as the facilitator and student board member is one of the greatest decision I’ve made in college. I joined FIUTS as a facilitator when I was a sophomore, and I served as Wednesday Lunch Chair on the FIUTS student board 2013-2014, and then as President from 2014 to 2015. Now, when I turned around and saw the path I have been walking through, I am exciting to see how much I grew up along with my FIUTS friends, staff, and student board members. The happy moments I spent with FIUTS, the lessons I’ve learned, the difficulties I’ve encountered, and those dedicated and passionate people I’ve learned from all shaped who I am as a person and as a leader.
Sunita (center, in stripes) and members of the 2014-15 FIUTS Student Board at Global Gala
My involvement with FIUTS has been shaped my ways of defining leadership: I believe a leader makes the best effort to be involved in their community and takes initiative in their own lives in order to follow their passion. When I served on the FIUTS student board this year as President, I gained a lot of support from staff members and explored many opportunities to attend leadership speeches and seminars. But I also began to think about my leadership philosophy and who I am as a leader. This was the period I struggled with the most- how can I become a good and impactful leader? Am I good enough to become a leader? Will people trust me? After nearly a year’s hard working and constantly reflecting, I believe I understand who am I a lot better than before and I gradually feel clearer of what I want to do as a leader in the future. I’ve developed my core values of kindness, listening, empathy, learning, intuition, vision, and responsibility.
These leadership capacities have taught me to being active, responsible, reflecting, staying passionate, and persistent. Besides, the projects I worked on such as Global Gala, CulturalFest, Wednesday Lunch, etc., have practiced my leadership, decision-making, facilitating, communication, and organization skills. These are valuable and life-longing assets, which I feel extremely lucky to have had FIUTS to foster in me and witness my growth. Thank you FIUTS and FIUTS Student Board!!
Spreading the word about CulturalFest 2015 on campus!
In the future, I wish to work for international non-profit organizations, if I could work for any NGO on environmental issues that would be the greatest. I also want to gain a master degree in MPA or international studies after a few years of working. In the long run, I want to establish my own NGO so that I am able to raise funds to encourage global discourse and work with environmental issues in China. Finally, I want to become a professor in International Studies to foster future leaders!
If you are interested in knowing more about me and my experience/reflection on the FIUTS Student Board, or my other involvements, feel free to access to my e-portfolio at sunitayiyang.weebly.com. I hope you enjoy reading this post!
Help FIUTS provide training and support to inspiring cross-cultural leaders like Sunita by donating to the FIUTS Leadership Development Fund: www.fiuts.org/support
By Isabella Ning, FIUTS Facilitator
May 11-15 was FIUTS World to Work Week. There were a variety of activities hosted by FIUTS for students to explore our interested career fields and help students get prepared building up networks.
Two of my events were the trips to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
On Tuesday May the 12th, we left the Burke museum at 3 pm and took the bus to the Gates Foundation visitor center located right across to the EMP museum. We arrived on time around 4 pm and took a 45 minute-walk tour in the Visitors Center. One of the staff working at the Gates Foundation showed us around and introduced to what the Foundation does and how does the Foundation work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a private foundation founded by the Gates family in 2000. The BMGF now mainly focuses on vaccine for malaria treatment and sanitation such as clean water and clean toilets.
One thing impressed me the most was how the Gates Foundation can always see the things behind and beyond the issue. For example, when people look at a picture showing a little girl holding a bucket of dirty water we may only focus on how to deal with the access to clean water. However, the Gate Foundation worries about that the imbalance of less care for girls in the family, girls miss school to fetch water cause lack of education, which might end up with lower social status in the future.
5 pm, former FIUTS board member Mr. Greg Siegler and FIUTS alum Mr. Wenjun Sun who also work for the Foundation took us into the office building. That day was also the 15th anniversary of the Foundation so we got the chance to see the staff members from the offices all over the world gathering together celebrating.
Greg Siegler and Wenjun Sun in front of the Gates Foundation headquarters
We spent one hour with Mr. Siegler and Mr. Sun having a small meeting in their office talking about all kinds of topics we interested about the Foundation such as the world library program, internships, malaria treatments, and matrix for donating. Then we caught the bus back to school around 6:20pm.
On Friday May the 15th, I facilitated the event to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Fred Hutchinson was a famous baseball player for Seattle Rainier last century. Unfortunately he died from lung cancer in his fifties. His brother, Dr. William Hutchinson created Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research center in 1975.
We met up at the Burke Museum and arrived at Fred Hutch around 4. Joining with other visiting groups, we took a 2 hours tour inside the research center, visited the labs and saw some researchers working on their projects. And also, we went to the attic to see how DI water and Oxygen are sent to thousands of labs by pipeline systems.
I feel like Fred Hutch is a wonderful place to work in terms of both professional equipment and the resort-like working environment. The campus is very pretty with trees and flowers, and there were a lot of researchers eating outside enjoying the sunshine during the lunch break. We also went to the roof of one building with great views of the South Lake Union. The staff said that they often host parties there to appreciate the donors as well.
The group who visited the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
FIUTS World to Work Week takes place once a year and offers students a chance to visit local workplaces, explore career options around the world, and network with professionals through workshops, tours, and other events. Learn more at www.fiuts.org/worldtowork.
Guest Post by Alem Hamzić
Last month, 100 alumni of the FIUTS Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina joined FIUTS staff in Bjelašnica just outside Sarajevo for an alumni reunion and conference. This event brought together all six cohorts of students and teachers who had traveled to Seattle for the YLP between Spring 2012 and Fall 2014.
Participants spent three days connecting and sharing stories of their experiences, and also took part in workshops to plan how they can work together in the future to strengthen their communities and their country. Alem Hamzić (YLP Fall 2012) wrote this post about the conference and the impact that the YLP experience had on him as a leader.
How to put a couple of words in this letter and to describe all the emotions that appeared in those three days...
Since I have been on the FIUTS Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2012, let me introduce myself again. My name is Alem, and I live in Sarajevo. Before, I was a boy who didn't have wishes, who didn't have goals in life and with that, no motivation to do something in my country or local community. I lived a monotonous life, with no perception of "different."
Now, I try every single time to say "thank you" to the persons who gave this opportunity to me, to see that we all have potential to do something great in life.
Maybe it is not enough...
How can you even thank somebody how turned your life around, who gave you that spark that motivated you to help, support and motivate others...to make a world a better place...(or even try to do so)
For me they said "he is emotionally devoted to everything he does..."
Then, you can imagine how much I have enjoyed to see about 100 young people who have the same interest and motivation as me to help Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a better place to live in. Looking at the history of B&H and the period of 1992 to 1995, a great success is to gather young powerful people with different nationalities and religions with the same goal and devotion.
Alem and fellow alumni at the reunion
Our great personalities and potential that has been shown through our projects that we have done in the past years have been recognized by US Ambassador in B&H Maureen Cormack who opened the conference and she stated “Young people all over the country are working to unite their communities, to build foundations for cooperation and reconciliation.”
A lot of words that encouraged us to engage in initiatives to further develop BiH civil society.
With no sadness in my heart because it ended and with the joy and happiness that bombarded me while I was writing this letter, I can only say that WE WILL TRY! We will respect everything that you have done for us, every minute of your devotion, calmness, motivation, strength...
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory...
The Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the program here.
Anuja Khadka, who participated in the Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders in Journalism and New Media with FIUTS last summer, shared this blog post about her work to help children in Nepal continue their education in the aftermath of the earthquake. (You can read an earlier post from Anuja about her experience during and immediately following the earthquake here.)
“Didi! When will the soil stop moving?”- questioned a little girl.
It makes me blue because I have no answer of when the soil will stop moving and the debris will rise to be a building. Earthquake is such an unpredictable phenomena that neither the scientists nor the astrologers can stop it. If one could do it, I would have answer to it.
Thousands of questions and answers are stuck inside the rubbles. The reply from the dead soul inside and the conversation of cries from the outside. The innocent flames in the eyes of all Nepalis and the gaze of little children depict the images of their fallen roofs and broken dreams. As hundreds of aftershocks hit Nepal, children feel the terror. The rescue and relief works have been done in my country but the venture to settle the traumatized little minds is yet to be done. They hear about their broken schools and undecided length of holidays. Afraid to see the broken buildings directly, they hide behind the shawl of their mothers to watch the devastation. Of the wishes children desire in their break, this must be their worse holidays ever. They are waiting for the school to notify them of re-opening and desperately needing the normal situation.
Not being able to bear all this, I and my husband decided to teach all the children inside the camp we were living and now have extended our work to other camps in my community. Believing ‘where there is a will, there is a way’, we have started the camp school. School without the proper carpet to sit and a broken tent to protect from the sun and the rain. The roof is 20% tent and 80% the jute sacks and bed cover. But, it’s precious. It’s precious for us and for children. Each time we enter the camp, I can feel the charm of the children that I have waited for long. So excited, so much of want for learning. At the narrow corner, we have our small classroom. Right over there we have the world of friendliness and little bud of hope.
Your small help can be a lot for these children. Your small help can make the flower bloom.
We are not any organization. We are just team of two. Strong enough.
Thank you, Anuja, for keeping your FIUTS family informed about your amazing work.
Anuja and her family have set up a bank account to receive donations to help their efforts in the camp. If you are interested in contributing and are able to do so via bank transfer, here is the necessary information:
GLOBAL IME BANK LIMITED, Kuleswor, Kathmandu, Bagmati zone, Nepal
Account holder's name: Pravin Thapa Chhetri
Account no: 068010000226
Bank swift code: GLBBNPKA
Shi Ryoung Chang, a UW student and FIUTS participant in 2009, visited Seattle and his former hosts, Mary and Ken Ross, this past weekend. He was excited to relive the memory of his Edmonds home and family and to visit his old haunts on campus, in the U District, and downtown. He also spent time catching up with a few Korean friends and compatriots who are currently studying Library Science and Public Health at UW.
He feels fortunate to be able to connect with this chapter of his past. He let his host family know how significant the impact of his time here has been in his life. For him, the host family personifies everything positive about that experience. Today he analyzes international currency exchange rates for the Bank of Korea in Seoul. And now he has finally realized his dream of returning to Seattle during a few days of his brief annual vacation time. Even before getting on the plane home, he was plotting his next visit.
Left: Shi Ryoung's hosts Mary and Ken Ross
He is deeply grateful to FIUTS and salutes everyone who continues to make international hosting experiences possible.
Learn more about becoming a FIUTS short-term homestay host and apply to host a student this summer or fall! Homestays last 7-10 days and offer new international students the opportunity to create meaningful connections with members of the Seattl-area community.