There is always a first time for everything
Yes, I got the words from a woman sitting next to me on our 14 hours of flight from Hong Kong to Dallas, United States of America! That was the first time I travelled alone and the experience was fascinating to me. I got to learn how to handle things out from passport, visa, check-in flight, until everything settled down in Hyatt Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Since the day I took the flight on October 14th 2019, from Penang, Malaysia, things are getting so exciting from the first until now. I got accepted to USA for Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiatives (YSEALI) Program under the theme Sustainable Development and the Environment. Well this blog would tell you about my first week of orientation and believe me ‘wow’ is everything that came out whenever I see something new.
Firstly, it is relieving when the program did not rush the fellows at all when they gave a day off, to get things settle down especially the jetlag and time zone change. I manage to get good rest as I arrived really late at night because of flight delay and some trouble looking for cab to the hotel. But, lucky me! Thank God, the coordinator (Tony Green) he was still up for the baseball game at that night to help me with the stuff and managed to get that settled.
So, after getting a good deep sleep, oh ya, I got a room mate from Cambodia, Puthea Chea, and he is so nice and cool! We went through the orientation for 3 days with all other fellows from south east Asian countries from Monday to Thursday. There are so many input given which was detailed down for us to get through the fellowship in USA.
Long story short, the slots input really practical with ethical codes of being city manager, safety and security, outbound programs and community challenge practice. I can still remember my fun facts about me, “I Hate cheese but I love pizza, Yup, that’s me”. There are also some presentation involving ICMA and Department of States who funded this program. The coordinators also invited someone from American Planning to give an excellent talk about high project impact, the USAID Project and share his thought about sustainability and share his knowledge on certain planning, failures and success.
Last but not least, before I leaved to the next place, City of Dubuque,Iowa, On October 19th, we went for a tour in Capitol and the building has really great architecture. A lot of statues open for the people to see, there a many historic story about leadership that we can learn from. Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite! Apart from that, I also manage to perform my Friday prayer at one of the mosques in DC district and I really appreciate the times given by the coordinator (credit to Kara Elser). This shows that USA really walk the talk on the freedom of religion in my Point of view. No problem at all.
I think that is all for now, see you again next week for another episode in City of Dubuque!