Local Student Awarded Prestigious U.S. Government Grant to Study Abroad In Oman
Posted in the Maui County Forum
#1 May 14, 2009
Pukalani, Hawaii – May 14, 2009 – Richard Gima, a 16-year-old high school student, received notice today that he was one of only 14 students to receive a U.S. Department of State-sponsored full scholarship to study abroad in Oman through the YES Abroad (Youth Exchange & Study) Program, implemented in part by AYUSA.
The Youth Exchange & Study Program was originally developed as an inbound program in response to the events of September 11, 2001 to build bridges of understanding between the United States and countries with significant Muslin populations. For the 2008-2009 school year over 850 international YES students are living across the nation, attending local high schools and participating in community service projects.
Due to the great success of the inbound program, this year YES grants will support the reverse program, YES Abroad, sending 49 U.S. high school students abroad to countries with significant Muslim populations.
AYUSA Global Youth Exchange is the leading global non-profit organization providing opportunities for international high school students to live and study in the USA and for American students to study abroad. It was first awarded a YES grant in 2003. AYUSA, and its network of international partners, recruit qualified students, place them with host families and provide on-the-ground local support throughout the experience. Recipients of AYUSA’s YES Abroad grant will be sent on full scholarships to Oman, Mali or Morocco for their Fall Semester 2009. YES students are asked to be an ambassador of their country during their time abroad.
Richard is one of the lucky students selected to represent the U.S. in Oman where he will be challenged to share American values and culture while also dispelling any myths. Richard describes his interest in this program:“The aftermath of 9/11 proved how many misconceptions we have about the Muslim population, in America and also overseas. Being able to study in a country with a significant Muslim population will help me to shed the misconceptions that I have about them and it will also serve as a basis to help change the way others think. I will be able to gain a respect for their customs, beliefs, and religion, even if it is not in line with my own.”
Before he leaves for Oman, Richard will participate in a pre-departure orientation in Washington D.C., taking place during the first week of August. There he will meet members of the U.S. Department of State and AYUSA’s in-country Omani representatives, as well as participate in interactive presentations that will cover homesickness, situation adaptation, culture shock and much more. The YES Abroad departure orientation also coincides with the arrival orientation of inbound international YES students which will provide a unique opportunity for these high school students to learn from each other as they embark on new cultural exchange adventures.
AYUSA Global Youth Exchange is a 501(c) 3, and an official U.S. Department of State designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor.
#2 Jun 14, 2009
Richard is my son, and I'm very proud of him. This is a huge accomplishment for him, one of many to come in his life, I'm certain. He is currently a junior, soon to be senior, at Lanai High and Elementary School.
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