Presenting Pakistan in Indiana
Pakistani exchange student holds flag with classmates in U.S. high school

Even PE got some IEW

For International Education Week (IEW), I did a lot of activities. I gave six presentations. I talked about Pakistan, its location, culture, languages, food, clothing, sports, religion, and many other things.

I started my presentations by introducing myself and asking if anyone knew anything about Pakistan. The majority said no, so I showed them a Pakistani meme that went viral on social media, especially in the U.S. Everyone then remembered that it was a Pakistani meme. So I started my presentation with a fun activity that made people more attentive.

I had students in my PE class play a game called Go-Go that I used to play back home. They said they enjoyed it a lot! To further explain and show my culture, I introduced henna to my American classmates. Some of them had never heard of it, but some just knew that it was a “temporary tattoo.” I also taught my classmates an easy Pakistani dance. Even my teacher was ready to try it out!

In my presentations, I read the Urdu alphabet and taught the difference in writing direction between Urdu and English. The fact that we write from right to left surprised people a lot. I even wrote some of the students’ names in Urdu. They were fascinated.

I played the national anthem of my country and sang along. Everyone stood up and was very respectful.

During the presentations, I showed a video of a Pakistani wedding, my village's cultural dance, and a combination of some beautiful places.

I also told them about my religion. There were a lot of questions about my hijab, and I tried to explain in the best way I could. The fasting month of Ramadan surprised them a lot.

Everyone was very interested and wanted to know more. They asked me many questions about daily life. It was very fun. I think IEW made it easier for everyone to approach and talk to me!

—Syeda (YES, Pakistan), hosted by the Dow family (IN)