We are getting ready to welcome our seventh cohort of Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participants! We recommend they all read Imran Ahmed’s post about how his daydreaming about the United States turned into a reality on the CCI program, his initial culture shock at the start of the program, and what he learned. Imran is from Pakistan and he studied at Pierce College in 2014-15.
My journey starts with a daydream. One evening I was sitting at the door of my room right in front of a balcony, I heard the sound of an airplane. It was flying in the dark clouds on the blue sky. Observing that gorgeous view, raised questions in my mind, like how can this airplane fly, who is flying it, who is flying in it, why are they flying, and where they are flying to? I asked those questions to myself, and I answered those questions for myself too. They are flying because they want to reach their destination, going through dark clouds, thunder and hardship but finally they will reach where they set off for.
Perhaps fate was listening to my daydreaming, because while I was imagining about that beautiful view, all of a sudden my mobile vibrated with the notification of an SMS sent from one of my friends. My concentration was abruptly diverted to my friend’s message which said “Dear, there is an opportunity to apply for a scholarship for the USA.”
First I laughed because it seemed funny, thinking about studying in the USA seemed easier said than done, but not impossible because studying in the USA was a dream with opened eyes. I thought about it and said to myself, let’s give it a try. I submitted the application. After a month, I was sitting at the door and thinking about the USA and its education system. I heard a sound but this time it was not an airplane but a phone call from a private number. I picked the call, and the person enquired, “Are you Mr. Imran Ahmed?” I answered with a slow voice “Yes, I am Mr. Imran Ahmed.” He congratulated me and told me that I was shortlisted for the CCI program, and I swear to Allah Almighty at that moment I felt dizzy for a second or so. But listening to his voice felt good, such a sweet and relaxing voice and why would it not be, after all he was telling me all my dreams were about to come true. I was happy and my parents were happier because I was going to study abroad.
The small journey started on 13th August 2014, it was about 4 o’clock in the evening, when I landed at SeaTac airport, took my luggage and headed toward the main gate. There was a huge crowd, and everyone was busy with their stuff. I was absolutely confused; I looked here and there but found nothing only people and some kids with happy faces. While looking those kids my eyes stuck on a long handsome guy who was holding something. It was blurry, so I took some steps forward to find what that exactly it was. It was my name written on a paper. I went to him and required “Are you looking for me?” He asked me, “How was your journey, gentleman?” He took my luggage and dropped me to my host family’s house.
It was about 5.30. My host family welcomed me and took me to the dining room, where the food was already served on the dining table. I was tired and very hungry but I was thinking it might be the second lunch because it was about 5 o’clock in the evening. I ate little food, thinking that I would eat much at dinner, while I was thinking this, my host mom said, go to bed you might be tired son, see you in morning, good night. I wanted to ask “Was that dinner?” But I kept quiet. Actually that was the first culture shock I felt in the US. After that I was experiencing everything and learning slowly about the US culture.
The NWCCI Program gave me a chance to participate in different activities and to volunteer which helped me a lot to learn and know about the people. I must say the people in US are so helpful and cooperative and, of course, honest, but what makes them so special, I think, are the rules and regulations. There is not a single person who does not follow the rules. There is kindness, honesty and the humanity.
I would also love to write about my best activity, I participated in many activities but there is one of my favorites, the visit to the capital of Washington. After spending a couple of months in the US we had an opportunity to visit Olympia and the state capital buildings. The best part was entering in the Supreme Court and experiencing the environment in the court. As I entered in the Supreme Court I saw its beauty. The beautiful chairs of the honorable judges and the books which were resting on the shelves attracted my attention. I was thinking about the feeling of those people who were judged in this court, I asked myself, were they brought to justice or the victim of injustice?
I will never forget the moments and the time I spent in the US with awesome people. My mission was not to show people that I have come to the US but to learn more about the US culture, and this is not the end of this journey but this is the beginning.
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.