Alumni of the 2013 Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program reconnected this winter in Erbil. Alums from both the High School and Undergraduate programs gathered to reflect on their experiences and participate in workshops and panel discussions that built upon the skills students developed last summer in the U.S. Meridian invited IYLEP alumni to submit a blog post describing their personal experience and growth with the program. We selected the winning entries to post on The LEAD.
The land of dreams. That’s what goes through anyone’s mind when he or she arrives in the USA. The IYLEP was our own, unique experience in the USA. To be there as one hundred students in an exchange program was the most wonderful chance in our lives. Everyone told me that I was so lucky because I was accepted from the first time I applied. I took my acceptance as a great opportunity to see a new world, to know, learn, and participate in teamwork one way or another. From the first time we met our friends, professors, and mentors, I was so happy because I had a lot of American people around us so I could communicate with them all the time in English, learn from them, and tell them about our amazing culture. The thing that I really loved about Americans is that they are kind, helpful, and really open-minded so they can accept any person from any culture.