Opening Oshkosh Eyes
Exchange student from Uzbekistan presents his country to American high school students in Wisconsin for International Education Week

Radmir introduces his little-known homeland (video included)

[This article is featured in the Dec. 2022 issue of PAX Press.]

Last week was International Education Week (IEW), and to be honest, it was one of my best weeks in the USA. During IEW, I did four presentations in my host community, and all of them went exceptionally well. I met so many wonderful people, made a lot of new friends, and had an amazing time. I found it very satisfying to talk about my country when people were focused and sincerely interested in every word I was saying.

My first presentation was on November 15th. My sociology teacher let me host the third period, so everybody who wanted to learn about Uzbekistan could sign up. The second presentation was during my English class. One of the funniest teachers in my school spared 20 minutes of his class to let me talk about my country. Megan Sievert (from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) attended this presentation.

The third presentation was in the Oshkosh Community Church on November 16th. Finally, the last presentation was on the last day of IEW. My business teacher let me present my country during his class. I spent the whole class answering the many questions asked by students. I loved this presentation, because people genuinely wanted to know more. The presentations went well, and people were so curious that I regret not doing more presentations.

I believe that IEW is something more important than just a time when international students talk about their motherlands, meet new people, and experience positive emotions. In my opinion, IEW is a unique opportunity for exchange students to educate Americans about their countries.

IEW brings people closer to each other by letting them know that they are not alone on the planet.

IEW brings people closer to each other by letting them know that they are not alone on the planet. IEW provides people with opportunities to understand the unique cultures and traditions of other countries. It also breaks stereotypes. For instance, most students in my high school believed countries such as Uzbekistan are stuck in older centuries. However, after my presentations, these students understood how Uzbekistan was established, how people live, and the modern lifestyle in which they live. Also, some people are canceled because of the countries they live in and the stereotypes about their culture. We are all humans! Our planet is our common home, and IEW helps people remember that!

Finally, I want to thank my placement organization, PAX, the U.S. Department of State, and all who are responsible for IEW. I am grateful for the opportunity to educate American people about my country. I hope there will be more events like IEW to bring people closer to each other and to continue breaking down stereotypes.

Let's continue focusing on what unites us, rather than our differences!

—Radmir (FLEX, Uzbekistan), hosted by the Lee family (WI)


Radmir's IEW: Highlights & Behind the Scenes