"My home abroad"

March, 20th 1956 was when my ancestors' hard efforts brought the independence from France.

March, 20th 2015 was the date where I decided to share with the whole world my pride and ego to be a Tunisian who made her way to the United States, as an TJSP scholar.

I decided with a couple of friends of mine to organize an event that will gather all Irex students on campus, and call the event: "My Home Abroad".

My home abroad was the event that is supposed to be not only cultural, but also educational and informative for students of the University of New Mexico.
When proposing for our fund request, we made sure to make our event a great opportunity to be the best representatives of our countries. We agreed that this challenge has to be accepted, in order to make people from the whole world know about our not-quite famous countries.

 It may sound bad to be the only one from Tunisia. People thought that it would be hard to gather more than 40 people in a Friday evening, on campus. But with our hard work and effective advertisement strategies, we succeeded to attract more than 100 students and staff of the UNM. With the help of my friend Irex student Jakhonguir Azimov from Global UGRAD Uzbekistan, we concentrated on designing a catchy colorful flyer as you may see.
The next step then, is to be launching a small teaser, in which we called all locals and internationals to come and share with us our traditions and customs, to simply, GET KNOW US.      
What helped us the most is sharing the video on all of our social media profiles, and reminding people about how many days are left to the event.
Preparing for the event was a great way the four of us to get closer and work in order to make out of our event, a memorable one.
                                                                                   I would never forget the days we spent preparing for our presentations and planning our food menus. I would never forget Susi, our beloved adviser and how she's always right about how to be smart and save money, without losing quality. 
Like a small family, we had our late-day meetings and endless e-mails about every single detail.
Like a life-long friends, we've been shopping at 10 p.m and visited every single place, checking item by item from our lists.
We drove everywhere, from big supermarkets to small Delhi shops, to Mediterranean food restaurants. 

The day of the event was so stressful. a day that started at 7 p.m and ended around 10 p.m.
with the help of friends and volunteers, we had an amazing setting of the ballrooms, in which everyone was gathered, listening to music and going from this table to the other, tasting the traditional dishes that we made.
Food and music were not all. after one hour of serving food, Mohamed and Attaullah started their presentation about Pakistan, in which they included a lot of general facts and information about their beautiful country.

My turn was just after their presentation. I started it by making sure that everyone knows where is Tunisia and what are the historical events that our country has been famous for, for these centuries. 
Celebrating the independence day, I couldn't not inform people about what happened the day before. "As much as I am proud to be here in front of you representing Tunisia, the spark of the revolution, as much I am sad about what happened yesterday at one of the most beautiful historical museums that North Africa has. I am here today to say that I, and every single Tunisian, will never be afraid of such terrorist acts. We will go back and we will build the country that we love and will always love. Wait for me. Wait for the youth-led Tunisia."
I showed all of the beautiful places that Tunisia have, from Sidi Bou Said, to El Medina, to the the beautiful deserts of Tozeur. 
Everyone was amazed and didn't stop clapping for every word I say. I knew then, that this whole event came at the right time for everyone to take off all of the misconceptions they have about us, and dare to go out from their shell, to discover a whole new culture without being afraid of being judged or stereotyped. 

Jakhonguir, the Uzbek representative also shared with the audience a lot of fun facts and beautiful photos that he took in a lot of his country's towns.
It was amazing how people were so interested about what each one of us said.

To make sure that everyone was paying attention, we wrapped up the event by a Q/A competition, in which I got in the middle of the crowd and started to ask questions about Tunisia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan, and each time someone answers right, we gave him a souvenir from our countries.

What made "My home abroad" successful is the willingness to change and the hard work that we gave for the sake of exchanging knowledge.
However, this is not the end. I promised myself that I will give my best to promote my country and show people the real face of Tunisians.


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