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International Education Week: Nov. 16-20

November 19, 2009

This week, November 16-20, is International Education Week… an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education!

Throughout the week, YES7 students will make presentations to their schools and communities to help inform their peers about their home countries!

IEW Presentations at Southeast Polk High School

Christelle and I had the opportunity to visit Yusuf Adam Marafa at Southeast Polk High School on Monday to attend his International Education Week (IEW) presentation.

The school library sponsored the event, called “Celebration of Cultures.” The school’s seven exchange students – from Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Nigeria – made presentations to the audience about their home countries.

Yusuf presents about Nigeria

Yusuf’s presentation about Nigeria was very well put together and informative. Even though I’ve been working at IRIS for over four months, I learned a lot about Nigeria and Nigerian culture from Yusuf.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the 8th most populous in the world
  • There are 36 states, 350 ethnic groups and over 250 languages in Nigeria (Hausa is the most prevalent language)
  • Nigeria’s economy flourishes because of it’s natural resources, including: oil, ground nuts, cocoa, palm oil and many minerals
  • The education system is much different than the U.S. – students wear uniforms and stay in one classroom for the entire day (the teachers move)
  • The government provides free education, water, electricity and healthcare to its residents
  • 50% of the population practices Islam, 40% are Christians and 10% practice traditional religions
  • The climate of Nigeria is tropical, because it lies along the Equator – there are two seasons: wet (from April to October) and dry (from November to March)
  • Soccer is the most popular sport

Yusuf started his presentation by doing a traditional Nigerian dance. He also spoke in Hausa and wore his Nigerian clothes.

His presentation incorporated the Nigerian flag throughout, but at the end, he explained what the flag symbolizes. The green represents culture, and the white represents peace.

In closing, Yusuf shared that when he arrived in the U.S., many people were interested in talking to him and several asked strange questions like if they had electricity in Nigeria or if wild animals roamed the streets. He said  at first, he was offended by the questions, but after learning during orientation that most Americans ask because they want to learn, he now enjoys speaking to people about his country.


Here, Yusuf names the 36 Nigerian states in less than 20 seconds!

“Feast of Foods”

Following the presentations, a “Feast of Foods” including many international dishes was served. The menu included:

  • Feijoada (black beans and pork) and pao de queijo (rolls) from Brazil;
  • Nigerian stew on rice and lettuce;
  • Toltolt paprika (stuffed red peppers) and uborka salata (cucumber salad) from Hungary;
  • Gegrillte bratwurst (grilled bratwurst) and lemon cake from Germany;
  • Plov (rice pilaf) from Kazakhstan; and
  • Baklava from Kosovo.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sumayya Bambale permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:57 PM

    Am like a sister to Yusuf and i am so proud of him.Keep up with th good work of making your country proud and great.

  2. Ede Philips permalink
    November 25, 2009 1:46 AM

    I am Yusuf’s teacher at Nigeria. Good job Yusuf!!! you did a wonderful job, keep it up. Your country will be very proud of you. Try as much as possible to see your dream comes true to make changes in Nigeria and to help those that are in need of help, displace peace all over the world by treating Christan and Muslim equally. You are a great student that i never meet in my life of teaching in terms of respect and academics.

    Christale, kim, Asli, Jessika, Emili, Del, Jeena, Gaiger’s family and the rest of your coordinators, these people really try there best, try as much as possible to fill fry to ask them for help if necessary, dont fill shy or terrify because i know you. They are your family now, obey their rules and try to leave a good legacy so that they will be so proud of you too.

    With love from,

    Ede Philips

  3. Yusuf permalink
    November 26, 2009 7:55 PM

    Hahaha thanks Mr. Ede Phlips, i am so prou d of you too with all the advices you gave to me i am presently enjoying them. Please say hi to every one at Nigeria, i will be back soon it remains only seven month now.

    Correct your spellings of the names you mentioned above hahaha it is not like hausa.

    Happy Eid

  4. December 16, 2009 1:01 AM

    Hey Yusuf did great job. That was an incredible performance.

    He is very good boy, im very proud of him. He is my close friend, and a brother indeed.

    It is not easy to come before people, using their language and share with them an important fact about you and you country.

    Good Jod and God Bless.


  5. Carol VanHook permalink
    May 29, 2011 7:29 PM

    So proud to have Yusuf visit America and be a member of our student body in Iowa for the year. I remember this special presentation and sharing of culture. Yusuf did a great job. We were so proud of him in high school and miss him! Wishing him the very best as he strives to achieve his wonderful dreams for Nigeria!

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