14 Life in America

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Fellows enjoy a happy moment on a hiking trip to A Mountain.

One thing that was overwhelmingly noticeable to the fellows on their arrival in Phoenix was the heat. It took some getting used to, but soon enough the winter reprieve came. Then the pleasant spring rolled in and life was good.

Being located downtown has its advantages. There are lots of nearby places to visit and things to do: the Desert Botanical Garden, Science Center and the Zoo, to name few. Many fellows were interested in sports and so it was a bonus to be within walking distance of sporting facilities.

The fellows were among the first tenants to occupy a new apartment complex built a few blocks away from the Cronkite School. It wasn’t long before it felt like home.

Along with their travels for conferences and seminars, fellows took the opportunity during the winter and spring breaks to explore other parts of America on their own and often came back with exciting travel stories.

Reflection Question: Share one memory about your life in Phoenix that you’ll always cherish.

The way Dr. Estrella, father of my former roommate Philip Estrella, treated me was more than nice. He help me discover other sides of Phoenix, other hobbies to Phoenix inhabitants like go-karting out of town, countless barbecues and family gatherings. Exactly what I love with my host family who invited me to family dinners. I must also mention the nice atmosphere and the support of the public during each of the games I had a chance to attend, like my very first football game, which Jason Manning (professor at ASU) took me to watch at the stadium in Tempe, as well as the baseball game in the home of the Dbacks, where the warmth of the supporters stays as usual: warm. Issa Napon

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Hina and Derya in Sedona. 

Night strolls with Hina and Derya. I used to join them occasionally for a walk in the evening. This will remain my most cherished experience in Phoenix. Wahida Ifat

What I like the most (and I have to admit I hated it at first) about Phoenix is that it has a calm and peaceful downtown. I will always remember our late-night walks and chats with Hina. The taste of the authentic and genuine conversation along deserted roads and parks of Phoenix will be unforgettable. Derya Kaya

I will never forget the night walks with Derya Kaya, a fellow from Turkey. We discussed so many things on those walks from the simple need for a cup of tea to our struggles in our societies. We shared our dreams, our fears, our anxieties and our memories from Karachi and Istanbul. We had serious arguments; there were moments of resentment and moments of uncontrollable laughter. The time we spent together exploring empty streets of Phoenix created a bond that is deeper and more long-lasting than I could ever imagine. Hina Ali

I like the sunset in Phoenix. No matter where I am here, watching the sunset is always a special moment. The lights and colors in the sky are unique. Ivana Braga

Reflection Question: Share one thing that your travels across the country taught you about America.

I traveled to many cities in America – Albuquerque, N.M., San Francisco, Atlanta, D.C., San Diego, Boston and New York. Every city has its own vibe, as if each city is a world of its own – especially New York, Boston and San Francisco. Each city has its own culture that is very different from rest of America. The only common thing among all these cities is freedom – wherever you go you can be who you are and it is OK. Hina Ali

My travels across America during my Humphrey year taught me that having fun during the journey is as important or even more important than the destination itself. Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro

The United States is a nation of great diversity in which you can find a lot of things. I already knew this, but seeing it now from different perspectives and being more aware of reality, it is enriching. Fernando Aguilar

Although living in the same nation, Americans are very different regarding their background, their history, their political, religious and personal beliefs. In some places you find communities dominated by very mindful, friendly and open people, just as you could find in other places communities dominated by selfish, unapproachable, self-satisfied people. Remain with your own compass, your own thermometer to balance when things are dark out there. Issa Napon

Reflection Question: Share one key takeaway from your community service or volunteer activity.

I worked with Career Corners to develop a social media plan for the launch of the organisation. I learned that people are ready to help here in America. Steven Kapoloma

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Fellows participate in a community service activity at St. Mary’s Food Bank.

There is no more uplifting feeling than that which comes from investing your time and talent in helping others. The four-hour volunteer experience at St. Mary’s Food Bank really made me feel like I was making a difference (even just a small one) in the fight against poverty and hunger. Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro

Volunteering in preventing erosion by building barriers at the Ironwood National Forest was a great experience. Fernando Aguilar

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Humphrey Fellow Issa Napon volunteers to build a house with Habitat for Humanity.

I recall the nice moment spent with co-volunteers from Habitat for Humanity finishing houses for people in need. It was amazing seeing people from several ages, backgrounds and countries who showed up that particular day to finish the home of a Congolese family of five people. Friendship and thoughtfulness were crowned king and princess. Everybody worked happily to bring his contribution according to his strengths to get this great action done, as if we always were friends, even though the majority of us had just met for the first time. Issa Napon

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