Immersive study program changes international students’ view of the U.S.

SUSI participants at the symposium in Washington, D.C.


The Study of U.S. Institutes (SUSI) brings over 100 emerging international leaders from more than 20 countries to the U.S. for an immersive education program that spans several weeks. SUSI focuses on five global themes: civic engagement, economic development, religious freedom, closing the skills gap and public service. Once they’ve selected a theme to study, students are sent to one of five colleges, which included Bard College, the University of Massachusetts, Temple University, the University of Washington and the University of Nevada. The program culminated in Washington, D.C. with a symposium that allowed students to showcase all they had learned while in the U.S. and explain what they plan to take back to their home communities. Meridian sat with several of the students to discuss their experience, their hopes for the future and their personal growth, listen below:

What surprised you about the United States during SUSI?

Hear from Rafael Conceicao Falcao, Brazil:

“It’s a great country in diversification.”


Hear from Kate Baranova, Russia:

“The portions of food are really huge. It really shocked me.”


Hear from Bernard El Naddaf, Lebanon:

“Every block I walk I meet a new person from a different place.”

What is the most valuable thing you learned during SUSI?

Hear from Izel Asal, Turkey:

“Before coming here, I didn’t have information or knowledge about being a leader.”


Hear from Beka Margiani, Georgia:

“We learned different aspects of civic engagement.”

How will you improve your own community after this experience?

Hear from Ahmad Audli “Vito” Natakusuma, Indonesia:

“I will spread respecting culture around my environment.”


Hear from Nazifa “Kazi” Tabassum, Bangladesh:

“We learned how to build yourself as a leader. In my country, I think people need this most.”


Hear from Rewen Ibrahim, Egypt:

“I want to implement acceptance in Egypt.”