BY SHEILA SRI PRIYA
I was always intrigued by the Americans and the amazing enthusiasm they share over the causes the believe in.
My first and only trip to US, New York was in 2010. I was 29 and I accompanied my husband for a conference. Let’s just say I have not stopped talking about the amazing things I have seen and the eye opening experience I encountered there.
The kindness of people especially towards the less fortunate such as the homeless and their patriotism towards the country was admirable. They may have political differences but they love their country.
It was interesting to know some of the bakeries and food outlets would actually donate their perishable food to the homeless. This was something less heard of in my country Malaysia in 2010.
Now there are several soup kitchens in my country and more youths are embarking on positive community empowerment projects.
However there are also those who believe the homeless are a bane to the society. Sometimes I would relate to them the positive community camaraderie which I saw in US.
Fast forward, I wished I could experience more of this wonderful American culture. I wanted to share interesting insights of the community with those in my country especially the community leaders and my readers.
It was then I saw this email from my company admin.
‘YSEALI Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program funded by US’.
‘Applications for Cohort 4 opened March 1 to April 15 and now extended to April 30, 2016’.
ICMA’s Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program (PFP). This exchange is part of the Professional Fellows Program, which is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Office of Citizen Exchanges in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Professional Fellows Program brings several hundred emerging leaders from around the world to the United States each year for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise.
I returned home. Tucked my children to bed and told my husband of this great opportunity.
He was supportive and encouraging. He wished he could take the opportunity but he is an Internet Entrepreneur and he’s more focused in his business at the moment.
I applied and the rest is history. I was accepted and I am thrilled.
I will be traveling to Washington D.C this Wed, Oct 11, 2016.
My host community would be Hooksett, New Hampshire
Wish me great luck.