This is me, and I am a CEW Alumna. Today in this video, I am going to tell you about my
Civic Education Week experience. To start with my introduction, my name is Anosha Rahim,
and I am from Pakistan. I came to America on the YES Program as an exchange student
for the year 2014-15. And I was placed with the amazing Campana family in the beautiful,
but a little too cold, state of Wisconsin. I found out about the CEW openings a couple
of months into my exchange year, and I got extremely excited about the idea of going
to Washington D.C. for one week! Therefore, I decided to apply for it. But like any other
major procrastinator & distracted-by-million-opportunities-of high-school-student , I sent in my application
just minutes before the applying deadline. And I was pretty nervous about the results.
However, to my sweet delight, I got the confirmation email of my selection somewhere in January,
and I cannot even describe how happy and proud I was to see it.It was February 22nd, 2015
when I arrived in Washington D.C. I met some old friends, while making a whole lot of new
ones as well. I was so thrilled about getting started that I could barely even sit still.
To be honest, I had no idea that I could be this excited about something before.When I
got my hotel room keys, I found out that I was to share a room with 3 other exchange
students from Palestine, Egypt, and South Africa. I was really happy about this, because
I had actually never even met people from these nationalities before I got here.
Anyways, CEW turned out to be a very fun and benefiting conference. It exposed us to a
variety of perspectives about pressing issues happening across the globe in a friendly and
accepting manner. It taught us to respect diversity and act as peace builders in our
communities, and the world at large. And we had a sense of pride in learning these things
because of the way they were taught to us in CEW. Unlike normal conferences, CEW did
NOT happen within the confines of 4 walls or consisted of zillion selfies only. We were
always moving around, and our conference sessions happened basically anywhere from our tour
buses, to the Washington Streets, museums, memorials, the US State Department Building,
to the government buildings of the breath taking capitol. Washington DC became our classroom
and it’s history became our curriculum. There was just so much to learn, to do, and to see!
One thing is for sure, CEW has one of the most jam-packed and concentrated schedules
I have ever experienced! And the good thing is that, it taught me to
be more alert and manage my time and things better, and NOT procrastinate. So time management;
that’s one of the many leadership qualities right there.
A huge part of the CEW experience was learning how to become a better leader, and stand up
for others. We as teenagers are so full of energy and enthusiasm, and CEW taught us to
take good, ethical initiatives to shape this enthusiasm in helping our communities, and
put that teenage energy supply to bigger use. Being a part of CEW definitely gave me the
confidence and determination to return to my country with the willingness to lead and
bring about a positive change. Therefore, when I came back to Pakistan, I participated
in and initiated numerous community service projects in my home town with that same spirit.
Looking back onto my exchange year, CEW stands out to me as one of those memories that will
always remain close to my heart. It was just a matter of 7 days, yet we learned so much
about America, the world, and ourselves. I think that CEW is an experience that stays
with you for the rest of your life. It stays with you in the form of the friends you made,
the memories that you collected, the lessons you learnt, and the way you will perceive
the world. And I am extremely glad that I could be a
part of CEW. If I could go back in time, there is not a thing I would change about my CEW
experience. It was beyond perfect. So if you happen to get selected for this
awesome conference, know that you are in for the most amazing week of your exchange life.
Trust me on this one, you are very, very lucky! So make sure that you make the best out of
this experience. Good luck! Oh, by the way, DON’T forget to bring your
cameras with you. And maybe take at least a couple of thousand photos.
I mean… that’s what we ALL did! Bye! 😀