Ambassadors of Friendship
Over the last four years, FIUTS has hosted Study of the U.S. Institutes for student leaders from around the world. This program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, has so far brought 100 university-level student leaders to Seattle for intensive programs focusing on media, journalism, and civic engagement.
During their time in Seattle, SUSI participants are matched 1-1 with a University of Washington student "Ambassador" who served as a peer mentor, cultural liaison, and friend. Many SUSI participants and Ambassadors have stayed in touch and made friends for life. This month, as we are celebrating our program alumni, here is a blog post about the incredible connections between SUSI alumni and their Ambassadors!
"It's weird, but the ambassadors—and the SUSI programme in general—has played a massive role in shaping who I am as a person. From being an extremely introverted and shy person, the relationship the ambassadors cultivated with me (because I'd never have initiated it myself) taught me a LOT that I'd never have figured out about otherwise. It taught me to be giving, to be supportive, and to care unconditionally. It also taught me that friendship can outlast time and distance—it's been just over there years since the programme, but some of us are still in touch, and Skype for hours on end—even after an year's solid silence!
I don't know how to not make this cliché...but the time I had with our ambassadors is still my happiest memory." -Aisha Nazim, Sri Lanka (SUSI participant 2015)
"Way back when we started the SUSI Ambassador program in 2014, we didn’t quite have enough UW students to be matched one to one with SUSIs. Lucky for me, that meant I got two; Chaminie from Sri Lanka and Nishat from Bangladesh.
In 2015 I had the amazing opportunity to visit both of them on a month long trip around South Asia. Having the opportunity to visit friends and get an insider tour of their hometowns, universities, favorite restaurants and places to hang out has changed the way that I am able to travel and I feel very lucky to have these ladies in my life!" - Kailyn Swarthout, UW Ambassador 2014 & 2017
"This program exceeded my expectations. Here, networking means much more than making acquaintance, but it is about creating genuine friendship. We learn to appreciate the differences between us and that has strengthened our friendship greatly despite the short time we had spent together. Clearly, distance is not a problem between the SUSIs and the Ambassadors as we keep in touch and also support each person's aspirations." -Nadrah Hushin, UW Ambassador 2017
"The Ambassadors, they're there for you not only to help and guide you, but to ensure that you'll never be the same again. A positive life impact! 'There's no good luck, there's hard work and prayers' were Francis Abugbila's words that positively impacted my life." -Bruno Mourinho, Mozambique (SUSI 2018 participant)
"All my SUSI friends are from Southern Africa and they are the most kind people I have ever known. I had little African experience before I met SUSIs, but after weeks staying with those outgoing, passionate, gleeful, and fiery fellows, the abstract ideas of Africa and African people became the dearest words in my heart." -Yiru Xupan, UW Ambassador 2017
The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, promote a better understanding of the people, institutions, and culture of the United States among foreign students, teachers, and scholars. Study of the U.S. Institutes are short-term academic programs for groups of undergraduate leaders, educators, and scholars from around the world.
Guest posts on the FIUTS blog represent the experiences and views of individual writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of FIUTS or any organizations or institutions affiliated with our programs.