My Experience Of Exchange Program In The United States Of America
My story started from a typical rainy day of July on a small town in Bangladesh and which ended up near the Atlantic shore in Florida. It was raining heavily with thunder and lightning which is why I decided not going school that day. I was scrolling my Facebook feed and saw an ad on the U. S embassy’s page about a fully funded exchange program in the United States of America. I knew it’s going to be the hardest thing I had ever made so far, I had to compete more than thousands of students of my age from whole over the country. But I applied instantly without even thinking second time because I felt that’s for me. After one year I found myself in a middle adapting toys for children with limited motor control at my host community Gainesville. Yes, because somehow I made it.
As I look back, I realized that packing my life into a suitcase and leaving my home country was the best decision that I could have possibly made. I faced new challenges and get to know parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed. I was constantly learning new things and ideas, improvising myself and new ideas, dealing with the unexpected and surprised by what I found the world around me. I finished my exchange program. I was so excited and eager to share what I learned in my host community. I went to meet with my favorite teacher at my school. As soon as I walked into his office I was so happy and overwhelmed with joy. When I opened the door I could tell by the look on his eyes that he was not happy to see me. As I shook his hand he had a look on his face that he was disgusted by me. So, he took me to a corner of his office and told me “you know what was wrong you did?”So I was like what did I do?I have seen pictures of you that you were volunteering on church and that was wrong. I said that’s not wrong, he was so shocked at me with my answer.
For saying that he actually kicked me out of his office. That Conversation with my teacher started making me question why there are some of the things that are so normal to some parts of the world but are not normal other parts of the world. It was one of the most challenging this I faced, it was actually an ethical dilemma for myself. As I grew up on a conservative Muslim community, I was questioning the values and beliefs that I raised up on. It was difficult for me to adjust to the United State. Also hearing lots of misconception before going that made me confused too. But During my exchange year, I was open-minded and always willing to learn new things and beliefs. I went to church for the first time there and learned it’s more than a prayer place and they are not converting, saying wrong against other religion as some people believe this misconception here. I went to Buddhist temple to learn what they are saying.
My liaison was a Jews, I celebrated Hanukkah with her in a Jews temple. I tried their prayers too. I made friends irrespective of any religion, race, color or ethnicity. Tried to see the world in their eyes. All of those things don’t make me an atheist or converted me into different beliefs. But It helped me to understand We are human that is the ultimate truth. There is no good and no bad, we define it. What if my teacher instead of judging me from a single story side he would look with the different perspective? Wouldn’t that lead us to the different explanation? One week later, I went to that teacher’s office again and told my views about life, human and things I learned. And Thankfully it made a noticeable impact. Things I learned the beauty of life lies within the constant sinking of annoyed knowledge and questioning. It is true that life starts at the end of our comfort zone. We shouldn’t fear to get out of our comfort zone. Once we do, there are so many people’s to meet and so many things we can do for making our planet beautiful.
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