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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Posted on: 31 August 2022 BY: EVasconselos


Growing up I have always been a city girl, I was born and raised in the city and so I have spent most of my life in the city. I have known myself to be a smart, hardworking, and obedient young woman. However, being adventurous was never known throughout my whole life, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to be adventurous, but rather I was never introduced to the idea of exploring new things. I sometimes wanted to go and do crazy adventures in the municipalities, but I couldn’t because I was too scared to do so, and my parents were a bit strict back then. When I came to the US, I had to start making decisions and doing everything by myself, and that was my first experience of being adventurous – living with totally different people and learning different social norms, and there are a number of exciting experiences I have gained throughout my first year studying and living in the US, but today, let’s talk about my PRICELESS 5-DAYS ADVENTURE, in which helped me overcome my different kinds of fears, but particularly the fear of the unknown.

Right after Spring semester ended, my friend and I went camping with other two friends in a cave called the Dead Horse Cave. It was my first time ever going on a camping and in a cave! It was for sure an exciting experience but also scary because it was very dark, and my friends even played a horror movie where people died in a cave on a cave exploratory. The next day, we even went on exploring the cave and saw some cool things on the wall, but then my friends decided to turn off the flashlights just to feel the atmosphere. What I was thinking at that time was “Are these people crazy? Just to feel the atmosphere in a pitch-dark cave?”, because in Timor we wouldn’t do such a thing! Anyways, that’s when I realized that these people really do like to explore new things, the thing I and most Timorese people do not have.

After a week, my friend invited me over to stay at her house with her family for five days, and we did some thrilling and unforgettable experiences. Most of the activities we did were my first-time experiences. We went hiking on the first night to a place called the D, the sunset was very pretty to look at from up there, and we spotted a dead cow which was cool. We then baked cinnamon rolls and bread, it was my first-time baking pastries and bread, I got a little help from the recipe books of course. My friend and her mom then took me on a rock climbing, now that was way scarier than any of the other activities that we had done. My biggest fear is being in a high place, bear in mind, I was taken to a state park called City of Rocks, where the rocks are as huge as some of the hills, they were practically hills and there were a lot of rocks. Just when we started climbing the rock, I started to get dizzy as we got to a higher place, I was having difficulties to breath and was going to cry. Coming down was not easy as well as I constantly looked down, I was a very hard time. But in both times, my friend and her mom helped me get through it. Immediately after we got home, we then went on jumping in the river. It was scary at first, because I had never jumped in a river before, I have always been used to swimming in the ocean, and in the oceans, we don’t have to jump. It was frightening! I jumped in the river by myself the second time, it was still scary, but I was not as scary, and I even touched the bottom of the river which was super cool. For the last adventure, we ended it with a less physically involving activity. We went to an American wedding, and I think it was completely different from how Timorese wedding receptions look like. It had far less guests, the food was mainly cookies and cakes, whereas in Timorese wedding receptions, we usually serve big meals, but it was nice and I was always to have been to the wedding reception.

Having this 5-days trip helped me realize this more adventurous and braver side of me. I am able to see some good changes in me, a more courageous person and more willing to try new things, I learnt a new way to spend my days and have become more appreciative towards the nature. I am beyond grateful and content of this new self-discovery!!!