Monday, July 4, 2011

YES End of Stay Orientation 2011 in Washington DC

Well hello! Finally i'm glad to get a chance to write again here. i don't really know how to start now.

as in my previous blog, luckily i got selected to be a group leader for End of Stay orientation in Washington DC last week and i had a great times! As some of you might know that i had to flew by myself for 22 hours from Jakarta-Singapore-Hongkong-Chicago-Washington DC. It was a super duper long flight! it wasn't a good flight because all the turbulence and considering i was 60000 feet above, it was scary! but here i am!

I arrived on June 26th and stayed in Hilton Washington Dulles Hotel. The hotel was totally nice and i got 2 roommates, Their names is Mariam and Sajana. We became good friends and freezing almost every night!

End of Stay Orientation is basically the reorientation for all exchange students that have spent 11 months in United States and ready to go home to their home country. There were 501 or more students from all the over the world. We had 101 Indonesian students, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, South Africa, India, Kenya, Turkey, Mozambique, Egypt, Germany, plus we have Yes Abroad Students from USA that will go abroad. We had soo much fun in there and a lot of lessons and material that the students might need when they go home to their country. For group leaders, it was a long week. We barely could sleep. Most of us just sleep for 3-5 hours a day because there are just lots of stuff to do. Biggest credits go to AFS Staff who kept maintaining the flow and arrange everything. They are Nancy Levine, Bryant, Ori Behr, Katrina, and many more. All of us worked together to make this end of stay orientation happen. But, even though we were tired, seeing the kids and listen to their experiences in their states just gave the energy for us! it was great to see them excited as well, and we were glad all of them have became a leader in their community. They are the future leader.

Leading 501 students was not easy at all. We had four days to give them lessons, worked out their guide book, made them listen to the speaker, and taught them how to handle all the challenges that they will faced when they go home. Based on my experience, it was a hard time just to readjust with everything. They have been there for eleven months. It might be hard for them just to speak their native language because they spoke English for a year. They got used to American culture and American food so they might not used to their native culture anymore. They might gonna have problem with their family, schools, and communities. But they have to handle it. They have learned how to adjust with American culture a year ago, and now they have to deal with their native culture. I told my students (the group i led--> INA8) that they have to face the reality in their home country. The schools are different, the people are different, the communities are different, the languages are different, the food are different! How can they handle that? the End of Stay orientation provide all of those materials. We all know that community service is a common thing in United States and might not in their country. And we tried to bring that positive action to their own community back home. They have to bring the betterment to their community. It's the way to express love and bring happiness to their home country. I told my students not to be hesitated to do something different as long as it brings positive impact. There's nothing wrong with positive action.

Those are just some of the materials in end of stay orientation that we had last week. And also we had cultural evening night where all students had to create performance from where they from in front of all people and all students. It was a great night! They showed dances, songs, musics, and everything from their own country!
Cultural evening is the night where you can see all cultures, all countries together, support each other, dance, and sing together. It feels like there is something that tied us together and tell us that we are actually one part of the big world.
The one that made me almost cried is when Indonesian students performed on the stage, the Thailand students were standing and showing their flag (red-white-blue) and fold the blue part of their flag so the flag became Red and White and became the Indonesian flag. That was so respectful of them. i even almost cried from the whole time when i hear all students cheering the other countries that performing at that time. It was a memorable moment! No matter what color is their skin, what color is their hair, what religion that they have, they are one! We are one. I wish every single person in this world saw it, and give them better understanding of this world.

I'm so proud of them all.

Not just for them, all the staff learned a lot of things too! We made friends! I met these incredible people in the world! Mariam, Janina, Kirsten, Sean, Matthew 101, Sajana, Gill, Nat, Nancy, and all the people there that i couldn't write it all. It's glad to know that every where you go, you will always have friend from each part of the world. I even met Josh, the YES Abroad students that came to Indonesia a year ago! We were surprised when we saw each other. I know every single part of me will them a lot.

Thank you friends, thank you AFS, thank you YES :)