There are three main events happening during my first week in the US. First, upon my arrival to the land of freedom, I was fortunate to be given one and a half day to do whatever I want in Washington DC. Even though feeling so exhausted physically from being on the plane for so long, I still managed to bring myself to explore the city without any problems. My first destination was definitely the White House because I was so excited about it since I was in Cambodia. Then, I was able to visit three different museums afterward. I like Natural History Museum the most because I was able to see many species of animal displayed, and learned about history of the earth, animal and humanity. The last place I went to visit was the Congress. My impression of these three locations were that they are places full of knowledge, history, culture and uniqueness. Anybody can visit the places without paying the entrance fee, and it is an excellent approach to attract tourist and to give public access to knowledge.
Natural History Museum in DC
The second event was the first meeting and orientation to all fellows from different ASEAN countries. Everyone get the chance to meet the organizers of the program, and learn more about ICMA as well as the Department of States who is the donor for this particular programs. At the same time, we had the chance to listen to many presentations from various experts from different fields sharing about their experiences in development projects. In addition, we got to go deeper into our community challenge and potential action plans we could take when returning back to our home countries. These activities prepares fellows for the upcoming activities in the states they are assigned to, and it also helps building up connection, knowledge and confidence of all participants to take part in any activities they engage in the future.
Me and Tony (The organizer of the program from ICMA) at the orientation
Last but not least, the last event ended with the meeting with my host family at Spring Green, Wisconsin. I spent several hours flying from DC to my host family. My host family whose name is Jim and his wife, Tracy, came directly to the airport to pick me up. I am very impressed by their hospitality. The area where I stay is quite remote, and I get the chance to stay in the house up the hill. Jim built this house for about 20 years now, but it still look brand new to me. I got to have the first meal ever with them at a resort in town. I do love being here with my host family in the place I have never dreamed of living at the countryside that surrounded by nature like this.
Me and my host family, Tracy (middle) and Jim (right) at a resort in Spring Green, WI