Washington High School students listened to special presentations Nov. 15 as part of International Education Week (IEW).

Senior exchange students Maryam Mahammadova and Zaheer Soleh described life in their home countries of Azerbaijan and Pakistan, respectively, and answered questions from a variety of topics, including culture, government and religion.

WHS social studies department chair Tom Haas hosted the presentations during his first, third and fifth hour sociology classes.

“Our students were able to discover that they have much in common with the students from foreign countries,” Haas said. “At the same time, they learned of the cultural differences which make them unique.”

IEW is a joint effort of the U.S. Departments of State and Education to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This annual initiative aims to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchange.

According to the IEW website, nearly 1 million students will come to the United States for a world-class education this year. WHS is hosting seven exchange students from seven different countries during the 2012-13 school year.

“International Week is an opportunity for our students to be enriched by the culture of the exchange students who are enrolled at Washington High School,” Haas added.