The International Holiday Folk Fair was an inspiring celebration of world cultures!

IEW International Holiday Folk Fair

After being selected as a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) participant last year, I searched for everything that I would be doing during my exchange year, and IEW really caught my eye. I never imagined sharing my culture and my hometown with a lot of people, and I didn’t expect anything besides presentations at my school. But now, I’ve had my own stand at the International Holiday Folk Fair and shared my culture with over a thousand people!

I was really nervous, because I didn’t expect there to be so many people and countries. I wore my own traditional clothes, and I am so happy, because people really liked it. A lot of kids asked me to take a picture with them, even people from another country stand asked me. There was a man who told me that the picture of us will appear in another country’s newspaper! It makes me really proud knowing my traditional clothes will be seen in a country that I’ve never been to.

I also brought a traditional game and doll, and the kids really loved it. I taught them how to play and they were so excited. I had some Indonesian gifts that I brought from my hometown, and I loved sharing them. People were really excited when I told the story behind the souvenirs. I taught people how to speak the Indonesian language, and we did a tongue twister together! That was really funny. Lots of people don’t know where Indonesia is, and they were really curious and excited when I told more about the country.

I also got a chance to see more than 200 people who want to become U.S. citizens, and I got a chance to talk with lots of people from different countries, learn about their cultures, and share my own. It was a really amazing experience for me. I had more than a thousand people come and did more than 200 quick presentations. It was an unforgettable experience.

—Fifi (YES, Indonesia), hosted by the Moe family (WI)