Halil Cayan is a Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participant from Turkey who is studying graphic design at Pierce College. Here he writes about how life in the United States is more than what you see in Hollywood movies and how he was surprised and impressed by the diversity of the United States and her welcoming people.
Coming here to Washington, I had expectations of embracing the well-known all around the globe American culture. But it turned out to be so more than what is portrayed by Hollywood movies and even more than any article or post trying to convey how diverse America is. It turned out to be a huge mosaic, a collection of customs and traditions carried by numerous ethical groups and societies.
What can be considered American? Truly, everything that has the rebellious spirit of freedom. Freedom that is truly inspiring and welcoming you into it. Here, no one questions if you fit in or not, they simply accept and appreciate everything unique you bring to the community. For my part, I am proud to have been able to take in some of this culture and share my own, Turkish culture with others. I know that the people who I have met will remember the best of my stories, and share their experiences with others. This is very special to me, as it gives me the ability to contribute to an even better America in the future, one free of stereotypes.
Now America feels like a second home to me. With no prejudgments, no discrimination in this place, I was able to walk the streets of this city feeling like I belong here. This is truly an amazing feeling, which helps greatly to overcome cultural shock, missing your family and friends, adapting to a new system in education and social life. I have met lots of people who offered help as soon as they realized I am from another country – to make my adaptation process easier. They probably don’t even realized how many amazing, life-long memories they have given me.
If any future scholar sees this post, I would like to wish you the best of luck and congratulate you on the many opportunities that a year in America will unfold. I hope my positive experience will inspire you and make you see the friendly environment you will have entered soon. Make most of your time and brace yourself for life-changing events and unforgettable memories.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.