On July 15, Embassy Abuja’s Public Affairs Section conducted a pre-departure orientation for twenty (20) Nigerian high school students selected to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s Youth Exchange and Study program (YES). These young, deserving students will depart Nigeria in August for the one year exchange program in the United States.
During the pre-departure orientation, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Anton Smith congratulated the young students and encouraged them to get ready for a life changing experience this program offers. He charged them to serve as representatives of Nigeria abroad, saying, “You have been selected to represent Nigeria and you will meet people who don’t know Nigeria well and they are going to challenge you, so you are going to be an ambassador for Nigeria, an ambassador for peace and understanding to bridge and help America understand Nigeria.”
In his remarks Cultural Affairs Officer Sterling Tilley encouraged the students to be focused, brainstorm ideas and projects that would move their communities forward, and shun vices that would tarnish them.
The Youth Exchange and Study program exposes high school students to experience other parts of the world. During the program, students live with volunteer host American families, engage in volunteer services and participate in activities to learn about American society, acquire leadership skills, and share their country and culture with Americans as well. Students selected for the YES program represent their country and promote international understanding, development, and peace.