Saturday, May 2, 2009

World Learning 2008-2009 UGRAD Re-Entry Workshop

National 4-H Conference Center, Maryland: 20-22 March 2009

I was supposed to post this update a month earlier but I was thinking of waiting till the end of this UGRAD program as a wrap up. But I've been taking so many pictures lately and I'll have plenty of farewell pics to upload so decided to just update about this workshop first.

We attended this workshop during Spring break...right after our trip to New York City. This Re-Entry workshop was organized by World Learning to gather all UGRADers from Asia Pacific & Western Hemisphere scatterred in different universities all over the States together. A total of 66 UGRAD academic-year scholars from 18 countries flew in to DC and the main reason for this workshop was to prepare us for "Re-Entry"...simplified...going home. I've uploaded a lot of pics here (p.s. click on it for larger pics).

We took a bus back from NYC to DC the night before this workshop and stayed at HI DC before heading to Chevy Chase, Maryland the next morning. Finding our way to the conference center was indeed a 'challenge'. Bro and I got off the nearest metro station and with all our super heavy luggages, we walked 2 miles for about an hour to get to the conference center...pheww!! We could have taken a bus or cab but we thought it was just a mile away and we didn't see the bus so decided to walk...bro's 'brilliant' idea...hahaha!! I was sooo happy when I finally saw the 4-H building...what a 'good' workout for us!! Most of the others were already there earlier and mingling with each other before we arrived. It was my first time meeting Ms Jessica, Ms Lee & all other World Learning people in person...they've been working hard behind the scenes all these while and we've only 'met' them through emails. We dropped our luggages, got our folders then headed to the cafeteria for lunch. The last 2 people who arrived late was Htet & Uyanga...hahaha....pride of UAH!!

After lunch, we got into groups to work on our community service posters. I was trying to find my name on the grouping list and surprisingly...I was the 'lucky' one who were left out on the list...hehe!! :p My groupmate was Jose (Dominican Republic), Khuslen (Mongolia), Nirle (Venezuela) & Magdelena (Uruguay)...we used our 'creativity' to design our posters within an hour...hehe!!

It was then time for welcoming address by Ms Dorothea. We were then asked to introduce ourselves country by country. It was funny when bro mentioned that we are twins...everyone was so surprised...haha!! Within half an hour...we got to know friends from China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Filipines, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Indonesia,, Mongolia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Panama, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela & huh!! We are the pioneers from our countries to get the opportunity to be part of this program.

We had a dinner reception and met representatives from the US Department of States, Mr Thomas Ingalis & Mr Tim Marshall, and also all the World Learning staff...they were the ones that looked through all our application forms and gave us the chance to be part of this amazing program. Thank ya'll soooo muchie!! :)

Clockwise: Ms Jessica Mead, Ms Lee Nguyen, Mr Colin Davies, Ms Irina Cheptanari, Ms Deanna, Mr Thomas Ingalis, Mr Tim Marshall, & Ms Dorothea.

The 2 dancers from UAH...busy posing for pics all night...haha!!

Beautiful girls representing UAH from 3'M's...Htet (Myanmar), Uyanga (Mongolia) & Me (Malaysia)

We just can't get enough pics with our traditional costumes...

Fashion kebaya & bro's batik...Malaysia Boleh!! Bro looked like 'politician'...hahaha!! :p

Our cultural performance...Rasa Sayang (Feeling Love) & "用马来西亚的天气说爱你" (Saying 'I Love You' with Malaysia's weather)...yea...always soooo HOTTTT!!!

Other performances during the cultural night...ended with a group salsa dance...what a blend of cultures....Love it!!

During the cultural night, we had fashion show and cultural performances from several countries. Bro & I was involved in both...proud to represent Malaysia! Earlier on, we were thinking what to perform for the cultural wasn't compulsory though...juz for fun. I came up with the idea of singing Rasa Sayang (coz that is the most 'well-knowned' song in Malaysia) I looked on Youtube for some ideas...then saw Ah Niu's version of Rasa Sayang. I edited the song a lil' then sent it to bro and asked him to practice singing while I came up with the dance. We didn't had time to practice this performance at all until the night before the cultural night. I still remember practicing at HI DC's cafeteria at midnight...and they had CCTV there...the security might be laughing his ass off watching both of us acting stupid...haha!! But overall, our performance was pretty good...thumbs up...hehe!! :)

Our sumptuous breakfast at the cafeteria...I think I ate too much...oops!!

We were in the conference room from morning till afternoon. There were talks on Re-Entry, reverse culture shock (I didn't know about this earlier), joining the State Alumni, & leadership. We had the chance to interact with other scholars and listen to some of their experiences during this program. I was really impressed by everyone doubt the potential future leaders of our countries!! This program had been a very valuable learning experience for every single one of us...being here in a foreign land as international students had change our lives, perspectives, and made us all a better person in life.

Each groups then took turns to present about our community service experiences.

We also wrote answers for different topics...there were some pretty interesting ones.

Everyone was busy taking pictures while waiting to board the bus for our DC tour. We just knew each other for less than 2 days but everyone bonded so well like we've known each other for a long time. It's amazing to see that even though we all come from different parts of the world with different cultures, speaking different languages...there seemed to be no barriers between us. Despite all our differences, this UGRAD exchange program has brought us all together to share one thing in common...which is the amazing UGRAD experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives!

We were split into 3 groups for the DC tour. We visited Albert Einstein's Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Capitol, & The White House. It was my 2nd time visiting all these places coz I've been here last December. But it's still nice coz I got to see the night view of this attractions this time around. As usual, we were busy 'playing' with the 'toothpick' (Washington Monument)...hahaha!! I really love the awesome camera from my baby...that's the best gift for me!! :)

After the tour ended, we all went back to the hotel and grabbed the opportunity to chat and share our stories before we flew back to our universities the next morning. Jessica, Deanna & Lee joined us and we all sat at the corridor of our rooms to chat. It was really nice that we finally had some time to sit down and chat. We all wish the workshop was longer so that we can know each other better.

It was time to say goodbye. We've enjoyed ourselves during this workshop and met lotsa amazing new friends here. This workshop was short but fulfilling. We've accomplished a lot from this UGRAD journey and it had been a life changing experience. Our journey here in the US is coming to an end but I'm sure we'll carry everything that we've learned here with us for the rest of our lives. We are all going back with sweet memories that we will look back someday and smile. This is not the is just the beginning of our journey to a better future!

I am so blessed to know everyone here & proud to be a UGRADer!! To all my friends from all over the world: All the best in your future undertakings!! Keep in touch...I look forward to hear about your success stories!!

If ya'll wants to visit Malaysia someday, feel free to let me know...I'll be more than happy to host ya'll!! :)

Quote to share: "Dare to Dream...even the sky's not the limit!!"

No comments: