written by Heidi Macangcong, Participant to USA

At the beginning, I was nervous of going out my comfort zone, going out of my country and being independent. Having myself to help myself in everything I do is one of the things I learned on being here in United States. It is like trusting myself in everything I do. That I can do everything if I try and believe in myself, having courage. I have my own pen and a paper to write on, my own story to tell, everything is up to me. I believe that everyone of us can do something more than what we think we can do right now. All we have to do is to discover all of these.

I am hosted in Rossville, Kansas. It is small town with big-hearted people. One of the thing I’ll never forget about this town is when I walk around the town and see people, they always greet me even though they don’t know me. It is so heart whelming. The Brown Family welcomed me to their family and treats me like their own family. They support me in everything I do. My favourite part of the day is our dinner time because we help prepare for the food and during this meal, we just eat and share about how our day has been. We do a lot of family bonding inside and outside our house such as watching movies together, listening to song covers and eating in restaurants. I have a double placement sister from Cameroon. Her name is Amanda. Our culture is so different from each other and also way more different in the culture we are surrounded right now. She is so sweet. We do a lot of things together. We sing most of the time. I enjoy being her sister. We have a lot of same interests. My host family is definitely one of the most precious people in my life.

I go to a small school called Rossville Jr-Sr High School. My school is composed of about 250 students. It is a lot of fun because everybody knows everybody. We’re just like a family learning lessons everyday together. I joined our school’s volleyball, basketball and now our softball team. It’s a lot of fun. I never did this kind of sports back home but now I’m totally doing it. I never imagined myself doing these sports. The girls in my team help each other to improve individually and together as a team. I made a formed a lot of friendships because of doing sports. Everyday we have practice that is why my relationship with my teammates become more stronger each day. I had our school Homecoming and Winter Formal experiences. I got to go the dances with friends which is so much fun.

I experienced a lot of first times here. It was my first time to see snow here. It is pretty during snow days. I watched rodeo too for the first time. I joined school sports team for the first time. I sang in front of a lot of people for the first time. I was proud of myself not because I sang but because it was way too far of me going out of my comfort zone. My host family supported me so much when I was singing because they knew I was so nervous.

Mia from Germany and Camille from Belgium are my exchange student best friends. We do a lot of stuffs together, we did all of the school sports together,we grew up as an exchange student together, and we learned a lot  of new things together. We help each other when we don’t understand something. We are “Sisters from another mother” they say.

I am having fun to be one of the people representing the Philippines here in the United States. This place is such a wonderful place to share and learn from!