Dahshti Frya knew how he wanted to spend his summer after talking with some of his close friends back home in northern Iraq — he wanted to travel to the United States.
More specifically, he wanted to attend the seventh annual Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program held at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences.
When his peers came back from the IYLEP program and shared their stories of coming to the U.S. and being exposed to a new city and a new way of learning how to assist nonprofit organizations achieve their missions, Frya knew he wanted to experience the same thing.
“There was something in me that wanted to come to America,” Frya said, shortly after giving a group presentation in class of his respective region in Iraq. “My friends that had done IYLEP told me about the city and the nice people and also the things they studied. All these things inspired me to apply for the program.”
Frya is one of 24 IYLEP students, along with 13 current VCU students, enrolled in the VCU Social Media Institute this summer. In the course, students help develop and implement social media campaigns for local nonprofits over a three-week period.