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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One of the most valuable experiences that I have experienced while living here in the United States is being able to share stories of Timor – Leste to other people. It may come as a surprise that not a lot of people know where Timor is and I am sure a lot of Timorese students are used to questions like “where is that?” or “Is that in East of Minneapolis?” Surprisingly enough I always get excited when people did not know where Timor is because I get to tell them more about Timor. Instead of just them knowing where Timor is geographically located I get to tell them about Timorese culture, especially Timorese food.
I know that a lot of young people in Timor – Leste are constantly thinking about how they could contribute to our country. I think a lot about that too. A lot of us believe that the only way we could contribute to our country is after we graduate and find a job. Although that is true, I think young people of Timor Leste have done a lot of contributions through small events or activities that we have participated in Timor or in other countries. One of those activities is being representatives of our country.
Recently, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and walk on a runway in front of a lot of people alongside many international students from all around the globe to showcase our Timorese tais. The event was held by one of the student groups called MISA (Minnesota International Student Association). It was a night filled with cultural enrichment. So many cultures from all around the world were showcased in this event. The activity that I participated in was the Cultural Fashion Show. It was such a rewarding experience. I get to learn about other countries’ cultural attires and I also get to introduce tais to other people. I also learn how to wear tais on my own. Many Timorese women knew that wearing tais by ourselves is a hassle, which is why a lot of us have our mothers, sisters or aunts help us to dress. Nonetheless, it was a very rewarding experience. There’s a lot of sharing of knowledge and acquiring new knowledge in this whole experience, and I am glad that I get to step out of my comfort zone and signed up for the cultural fashion show.