An experienced traveler, Loyola University pre-med student Raihan Sayeed has volunteered extensively abroad. Ray Sayeed continues to sponsor 50 underserved students at Crescent High School in India and firmly believes in the power of intercultural communication for young people.

The adolescent years stand out as a crucial period in the development of a person’s worldview, regardless of where he or she lives. During adolescence, individuals learn how to relate to and communicate with others, and today’s global society demands that they learn these skills as applied to cross-cultural communication. Experts believe that cultural tension stems largely from unchallenged preconceptions and stereotypes of those who are “other,” a response that human beings are likely to develop if they are never given the chance to interact with different groups on a personal level.

Diverse cultural experience teach teens that those from different backgrounds are fully realized human beings like themselves, with closely held beliefs and universal emotional responses. At the same time, these experiences allow young people to learn new things about a culture or group from a firsthand perspective. This in turn provides the teen with a reference point that he or she can use to challenge stereotypes and communicate with people from a broad range of backgrounds, thus encouraging positive and productive interactions rather than generalizations.

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A student at Loyola University in Chicago, Raihan Sayeed is majoring in business while taking part in its pre-med program. Throughout his life, Raihan Sayeed has shadowed primary care physicians, volunteered at St. James Hospital in Chicago, and assisted medical professionals providing care in India through the Al-Kareem Welfare Society. While in college, Ray Sayeed has joined a number of extracurricular organizations and has served as a senator with Loyola’s Unified Student Government Association.

Recognizing the importance of giving students a voice in its operations, Loyola University in Chicago introduced the Unified Student Government Association. This body allows enrollees to meet with faculty and administration and express their concerns and desires. Additionally, it consists of three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) and promotes ways to get involved with the school and the neighborhood.

During fall 2013, the group joined in many events that aided its members, fellow students, and the university community. Newly elected senators spent a September weekend at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus, learned about conflict resolution, and took part in an obstacle course. In November, Loyola University’s Unified Student Government Association partnered with three other entities to host Developmental disABILITIES Awareness Day. To learn about upcoming activities, log onto http://www.luc.edu/usga.

A business major and pre-medical student at Loyola University, Raihan Sayeed believes strongly in the power of education. As part of his volunteer efforts, Ray Sayeed has supported 50 underprivileged children at Crescent High School in India.

Located on the outskirts of Chennai (Madras), Crescent High School, a branch also located in Hyderabad, was founded in 1968 as a residential school for boys. Sponsored by the Seethakathi Trust, the school’s academic program covers classes V to XII. Physical education and religious studies are also included.

At Crescent High School, education extends beyond the classroom. Older students are invited to become involved in various community service projects, including work with the World Wildlife Fund. Several clubs and associations provide opportunities for students to further explore their talents in areas such as mathematics, literary arts, and nature. Through the annual Seethakathi Tournament and the Imam Mapillai Aalim Oratorical Contest, Crescent High School students test their athletic and oratory skills against students from nearby schools.