USTL provides full scholarships to outstanding students from Timor-Leste for two to four years of study at high-quality undergraduate degree institutions in the United States. Scholarship awards include full tuition toward either a bachelor’s degree or associate degree, travel, living stipends, medical insurance in the U.S., and visa costs. USTL is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State.

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Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization operating in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and around 70 countries. It has helped more than 39 million people achieve strength, stability, and independence through safe, decent and affordable shelter. Habitat's vision is to provide a better home where everyone has a proper place to live.

Millard and Linda Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity. They were part of a community in Amicus, Georgia, founded by biblical scholar Clarence Jordan, called Koinonia Farm. In 1973, the Fullers decided to take the Fund for Humanity concept to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house-building program there, the Fullers returned to the United States. They called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream and, in 1976, established Habitat for Humanity International.

Habitat for Humanity also provides education for new homeowners, including budgeting and home maintenance. It also participates in community development and planning. Habitat for Humanity includes volunteer activities such as construction, fundraising, education, and Habitat stores that sell donated used furniture, construction materials, and other home items.

In addition, I have volunteered with various nonprofit and profit organizations. Volunteering is an enjoyable and beneficial experience, and volunteers are critical for most nonprofit organizations. As a volunteer, I understand that giving back to the community helps make the world a better place, and at the same time, I gain new skills and experiences and build connections with the community. Furthermore, if there are no volunteers, an organization would not have the resources to continue working. For instance, I volunteered at Habitat of Humanity because I believe in what they do, and I want to help achieve their goals. When working together, we will be more effective in reaching common goals to serve and support our community.

I appreciate the effort and passionate people are involved with Habitat of Humanity; both employees and volunteers are putting into their community outreach programs. I was happy I was able to help them work on organizing their store's donated items and set the price tags on the sorted items. One of the things I was very thrilled about was that Habitat for Humanity has a variety of ongoing activities every week that they need more volunteers to help. Their weekly schedule is always filled with activities, but their big projects are held annually. This organization stays very busy every week. The supervisor assigned me specifically to help at the store with organizing and moving the donated items around, putting price tags on the sorted items, cleaning some of the donated pieces of furniture, and emptying the garbage bins.

After putting the price tags, I would bring the items to the store, organize them on the shelves, and make them available for customers. I was able to meet many people, which was a great experience. While I was managing the items and putting them on the shelves, I also used my customer service skills to greet people as they entered the store. There were four other volunteers that I worked with, and they were very friendly toward me. We each were assigned separately with our work. I find it very easy to communicate with everyone because I noticed they are all very enthusiastic about volunteering. I was surprised that when I was given the tasks, I could finish them in a timely manner. I think work discipline is essential because with discipline it helps you achieve your goals, and I have these traits and use them to achieve a common goal by the end of the day.

From my perspective, volunteering has taught me that I genuinely enjoy giving back to the community. I also learned more about patience and my passions. In addition, I think volunteering helps me learn something new and acquire additional skills. For instance, I have gained so many skills throughout my volunteer experiences in the U.S., and these experiences mainly were construction. I found it very useful that these skills help contribute to my personal growth.