Exchange Students Attend Multicultural Conference

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PAX Selects Eleven High School Exchange Students to Attend Baltimore Meetings

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I am excited to continue volunteering in Pakistan!

Eleven high school exchange students from seven countries are attending a multicultural understanding workshop in Baltimore this week. Staff at PAX – Program of Academic Exchange selected the students based on community service projects the internationally born teens carried out during their stay with American families this academic year.

Honorees include: Anastasiya Ulakina (Turkmenistan to Trussville, AL), Anastasiia Cherkaska (Ukraine to Appleton, WI), Anika Neela (Bangladesh to Homewood, AL), Anosha Rahim (Pakistan to Appleton, WI), Ayunda Chaira (Indonesia to Menasha, WI), Bayu Zulhamsyah (Indonesia to Neenah, WI), David Naletilic (Bosnia and Herzegovina to Orange, MA), Mubashra Saleem (Pakistan to Baltimore, MD), Safirah Wirasatyawan (Indonesia to Brattleboro, VT), Radwa Moustafa (Egypt to Portland, OR), and Sohaib Nashit (Pakistan to Jackson, WY).

The students are attending the Better Understanding for a Better World multicultural conference, an event that attracts youth from up to 35 countries and is open to international exchange students in programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Attendees visit diverse houses of worship including a mosque, synagogue, and church in addition to Baltimore landmarks. Conference time with other participants is dedicated to discussions and breakout sessions about multiculturalism, community service, leadership, and youth issues.

“Cross-cultural understanding is at the heart of our mission, so we’re excited about this additional opportunity our students have while in the U.S.,” said Brikena Samara, PAX’s Director of Training and Sponsored Programs. “Nearly one hundred of our students from all over the world expressed interest. We selected honorees based on the types and amount of volunteer work performed in their adopted communities and how well they were able to communicate their volunteer projects to us—whether through an essay, video, collage, or some other creative medium. It was a lot of fun for everyone!”

This year’s PAX students volunteered dozens to hundreds of hours by feeding the hungry, raising money for infant care, picking up trash on local roads, etc. David from Bosnia embraced the idea. “This amazing opportunity to be an exchange student motivated me to give back to show my gratitude,” he said. Anosha agreed with his sentiment. She made and served breakfast to the homeless and raised money for health causes. “I am excited to continue volunteering in Pakistan!” she wrote about her PAX experience.

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