PAXer Wins CSIET Art Contest
Exchange student from Bangladesh holds her contest-winning artwork

Samiya's work is going on the cover!

Editor's note: Each year, the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) holds a contest for all high school exchange students in the U.S. The rules are simple: create a work that represents the spirit of youth exchange. Not only does the winner earn $500, their design goes on the cover of the ensuing year's Advisory List.

Winning the art contest was a really thrilling experience for me. I am really proud to hold the honorable title of CSIET 22nd Art Cover Contest Winner. It's a reminder to keep pursuing my passion. This achievement truly motivates me to push boundaries in my artistic journey and keep going forward with my dreams.

My artwork is based on my personal view of an exchange year. I was inspired by the amazing things many exchange students experience during their year and my artwork is just a glimpse of it. 

I brought up the feeling of unity amongst nations during these international exchange programs in my artwork. It’s just so amazing to meet people from diverse backgrounds and cultures!

Most of my artwork is inspired by experiences I share with my international exchange friends such as making our traditional food, wearing our cultural clothing, doing presentations together, and holding out our passports in front of our eyes right after landing in the USA.

There are many golden moments like these. However, the greatest gift of my exchange year was my host family. Having their support through the highs and lows of my journey has been invaluable. Having a family to care for you when you’re so far away from home is a blessing. 

For me, it isn’t just an artwork, it’s a precious memory that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I hope that future exchange students and even host families can see the amazing parts of an international exchange, because it is truly life-changing.

—Samiya (YES, Bangladesh), hosted by the Fetting family (WI)