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I'm here to tell you anything is POSSIBLE, BUT it all depends on how hard you work. Coming to study in the U.S is a dream come true. I have always imagined holding Timorese flag somewhere in the U.S one day. Now it is happening!
It took me 27 hours to travel from Timor-Leste to Appleton, and it is the longest trip I've ever had in my life. I learned a lot of things during my trip, especially about the airport process and time management.
Something that impressed me the first time when I arrived in the U.S was; nobody knows my home country. Even the immigration inspector at the San Francisco who has been working there for ten years didn't know too. I was a little bit sad, but I see that as a challenge to me to promote my country and culture to the people in the United States.
Whenever I introduce myself, they always respond with; "Owwhhh, sorry could you please repeat? Where is that?? "
Most people don't know Timor-Leste, they don’t understand when I said Timor-Leste or East Timor. I think this is normal, even I don't know some countries too, like Gabon.
Living a community that doesn't know about your country, different time zone, weather, food, language, and culture is an uphill battle. But it just within the first few weeks of your arrival.
It was tough when I first arrived in Appleton. I was very anxious about my situation. I didn't have a friend; I didn't know how to take a bus, go to the grocery shop and many other things. Despite these all, I always reminded myself not to let these challenges become a barrier to conquer my dream. Therefore, I try to adjust, learn, socialize myself, and ask the question.
During my time here, I am not just a student; I am also an Ambassador of Timor-Leste in this community. I enjoy sharing Timor-Leste's history, culture, people, and language.
Appleton is one of the most beautiful cities in Wisconsin. So far, everyone that I meet here is so kind and beautiful as the city itself. Start from my advisor, the first person I know here, Global Education's staff, my mentor, resident assistant, international friends, roommates, and the locals in the communityy. They are excited to learn about Timor-Leste and they make me feel at home.
We had a week of orientation for international students on the campus. That was a good time for me to meet more people and make friends. I learn a bunch of things during the orientation, such as; cultures from different countries, getting to know my instructors and other stuff related to student life. Moreover, I had a chance to talk to the President of Fox Valley Technical College, Dr. Susan A. May. She was asking me about Timor-Leste, and to help find Timor-Leste in the globe(map). One thing that she said to me was,
"You are the first Timor-Leste's student in our college. Thank you for choosing us, and please take this opportunity to learn and bring back Appleton to your beautiful country".
Besides the orientation on the campus, we also did a tour to the city of Madison, Appleton Down Town & Lawrence University. On 24th August, I had a chance to volunteer in the Celebration Of Diversity and Inclusion event in the fox cities, and I used this opportunity to promote Timor-Leste.
Lastly, I want to say that I am ready to start my journey as a student. However, I am super nervous about-facing winter too.