Civic Education Workshop


Sahar Karim, Writer

Choosing to come to the US, I have always been interested to learn how its civil society functions, and what makes these communities well-developed and united. I got honored to become an exchange student with a fully funded scholarship to experience the American dream. The US Department of State gives an opportunity to foreign exchange students to apply for a Civic Education Workshop which is a one week workshop held in Washington DC. I was among the lucky 98 students of the YES program from 33 different countries being selected to participate in this workshop.


This week-long workshop expanded my knowledge about American civil society, how the American government functions, the history of the US, the diversity of American land, and much more. We didn’t only visit the historical and political houses of the US, but also engaged in grassroots and leadership projects and learnt a lot from each others’ diversity. We were given the opportunity to visit the Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives and Senate, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Botanical garden. We also got to visit different memorials, museums and restaurants to enjoy DC overall. We were also taken to an NBA game night, and for most of us it was our first ever NBA game. I absolutely loved it.

More importantly, we got the opportunity  to work on different leadership projects in order to find the true leaders in us. We also got engaged in finding grassroots project ideas to work on when we go back to our home communities. Grassroots projects are initiatives to work on a community issue, and help for the betterment of the community. Through this week-long workshop, I got the chance to dig deep into my leadership skills, and come up with ideas of utilizing them for the betterment of our communities. The leadership sessions, and projects helped me create ideas to give back to my community, and work on issues that benefit the society as a whole.

After this workshop, I feel really confident to work as a leader, and enjoy the diversity of the world. I never thought to make friends throughout the world who are completely different, who practice a completely different culture and religion and yet this week helped me make relations that I would cherish forever.I always imagined the world was really huge. All I thought is that sophistication is cherished through traveling everywhere. But the YES program and CEW workshop are the reasons that I got to experience half of the world’s diversity, culture, religion in one year. And having friends from different corners of the world, I see the world and cherish the sophistication they helped me experience. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and to everyone who made it memorable. I will always have everything with me that I have learnt through this program, and implement them throughout my life. My exchange experience taught me the true meaning of life and living. And I say how beautiful it is to live a life in 10 months, and have it with you forever.