We (Malaysia and Thailand groups) visited Senatorial offices at Capitol Hill and gave presentations at the State Department. It all felt like a blur, probably a combination of jet lag and reverse culture shock. Everything about America seemed clean, shiny, loud and over-sized. But then I think back to my first days in Malaysia and that makes a lot of sense. The opposite of what surprised me there surprised me here.
We stayed at the hotel where we were for our Gateway before we left, so it was a very strange sense of deja vu.
At the State Department, we received presentations about careers in the Foreign Service, including internships and programs available for high school students and undergrads. The State Department staff were very excited to talk with us, as they are the ones that administer the program and they enjoy seeing the results. We were names on a paper for them, and they finally got to put faces to names. We received books, journals and a lot of contact info for future opportunities. Participating in the program has opened so many doors.
Discussions with the Senators' staff were beneficial in that we were able to share what we learned with people that vote on the exsitence of our programs. I met with someone from New York Senator Gillibrand's office and someone from a Mississippi Senator's office. They enjoyed hearing from us and hopefully they'll share what we shared with their bosses.
We talked a lot about how we changed and discussed how the experience would impact the rest of our lives. Discussing my experience with our group leaders (who were alum) and with the Thailand returnees made me realize that this experience has changed my entire life.
DC ended with final goddbyes at the airport as we returned to our home states. My plane was the last to leave, so I was with Teresa until she got on her plane. We both cried, a lot. Teresa became my best friend
|With my Thai girl Augusta|
|At the State Department|
|Satu Malaysia in DC|