In April we published a post by friendship mom Elizabeth Sierra-Arruffatt about her experience volunteering as a friendship family. Below Fahmeeda, a Pakistani student studying business management at Pierce College, writes about the other side of the friendship family relationship. She describes how her friendship family mom made her feel at home as soon as she arrived in the United States and how Elizabeth has taught her about American culture and holidays.
When I arrived in United States six months ago, the first place I came to stay was with my host family to experience American culture. Before I came to the USA, I was wondering about my host family. I did not know who they were or what type of people they were. Would I be able to understand their language? How about their food? A thousand of questions came to my mind. At that time, I was filled with concern. Surprisingly, when I saw the house and met with my friendship mom Elizabeth, I did not feel any fear about staying with her. She is so nice and a kind person. The house is such a nice and snug house that it really felt very familiar, like my real house.
During the first month Elizabeth, helped me to get used to my new environment. She told me about American culture like holidays, food and lifestyle. When any holiday came, we decorated the house and celebrate together.
After first month we moved to our apartments, and later Elizabeth continued with me as my friendship family. Every Wednesday, my host mom invites me for dinner with other students and we celebrate pretend birthdays. Elizabeth is an expert in cooking. She always makes different and delicious dishes and I can’t stop myself from going there every Wednesday.
Before coming here, I did not know much about American culture. I did not know about Thanksgiving, which we do not have in my country. When I asked Elizabeth, she told me about the meaning of the day, and about the traditional foods. Thanksgiving cannot be celebrated without turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie. I am really impressed by American culture and here I am learning new things which are totally different from my culture.
I feel so lucky because I have had a good host mom since I first got here. I remember I was so worried about what will happen if I live with a strange host family. Now, I don’t worry anymore because Elizabeth is kind, caring and funny. She is not only mom, but also my teacher. She takes care of me. I also learn lots of things from her. I’m so happy to have Elizabeth is in my life as my host mom.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.