Outline: Real testimonial from Emília de Abreu, an Economics student at ISCTE Business School who wishes to share her amazing international experience in the US with the Uduni community after being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship worth $12,000! After the huge success of her first and second articles, our amazing contributor Emília de Abreu continues to describe her experience, sharing her learnings with the Uduni community once again!
Up to the time I was informed that I was one of the 20 European Student Leaders who were going to represent their countries in the SUSI Environmental Stewardship, I needed to turn up at the Fulbright Commission in Portugal to be instructed about all the formal details of the grant and identically to be advised about other aspects of my trip. This meeting was also attended by the other Portuguese SUSI winners Carlos Ferreira and Mirali Jamnadas. Notably, the educational counselor was extremely supportive and relieved all our worries and uncertainties.
As a coincidence, my trip was scheduled for after my exams, surely it did match the beginning of my summer holidays. Unfortunately, I could not be in the United States at the exact day when the program started due to technological systems issues that were going on worldwide at that time and turned it impossible for all the SUSI participants to get their visas on time. Henceforth my flight was postponed.
On the first of July I took a trip to The Little Apple and after those exhausting flights (that I took alone) I arrived at Manhattan Airport, KS where the administrative director of the SUSI-ES, Kristina Snyder, was waiting for me. She was the first American I officially got to know. Immediately, I noticed that Kristina was super welcoming and excited about my attendance. After she took me to the Kansas State University’s dorms, where I was going to spend many nights during my time in the USA. At the present time, I can still remember the enthusiasm I felt and how genuine everything seemed. I was not scared at any point, in some manner it seemed that I was living my destiny. Even though I was extremely tired and were not able to fall in sleep at the planes, my eyes were wide opened contemplating the new surroundings.
Kansas State University was opened in 1863 and was the first public institution of higher education in K-State. Nowadays, this University is widely attended by students from all over the USA and the globe and in that day, it started being attended by me.
Once at the dorm, I rapidly met my new European colleges that likewise were SUSI Scholarship winners.
The program legitimate start was on the 29th of June, however being there later did not harm me at all. I easily fitted in and became part of the group.
On the 2nd of July our day started early. I woke up at 6am US CST to skype with my mom, this was the only time I found that worked for both of us and would not make me get late to my activities. The days at the program always started around 7am and it was not that hard to be an early bird when the weather was about 40ºC.
My first day at the Program was spent in Topeka, at the Kansas State Capitol Building, which was built in 1869 and took 37 years to be completed. It is 399 feet (122 meters) by 386 feet (118 m), and 304 feet (93 m) to the top of the cupola. Impressive!
We had the opportunity to have a guided tour inside the building and went to the top of the cupola.
During the morning we attended several presentation and discussions. First, we were presented to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The speakers were: Bill Bider, Director of the Bureau of Waste Management; Mike Tate, Director of the Bureau of Water Overview and Rick Brunetti, Director of Bureau of Air Overview.
We were told about the main duties of the KDHE and how Kansas does its control in this different means. Concepts as “Steward” and “Environmental Stewardship” were also discussed, particularly: who as the responsibility to be Environmental Steward and their obligations as professionals, the types of Environmental Stewardship activities, the Bureaus programs and others.
Matt Casey, the Director of Government Relations at the Kansas Board of Regents also joined us. And we were taught how it is possible to convert a bill in a law.
The last speaker was Tom Sloan. Sloan has won 11 times the elections for the office of Kansas House of Representatives. He was member of the Kansas Board of Regents and had served in the past the Kansas State Senate. In the 2nd of July he took some of his time to speak with our group about his career path and how it is to be re-elected 10 times! We were completely surprised when invited by himself to go to his office!
After a total of 15hours flights, not much sleep and being at a new country where everything was different: the weather, the time zone, the people, the language, the food, everything! Trust me this was an incredible start!
Some useful links:
- SUSI INFO: http://www.fulbright.pt/articles/study-of-the-u-s-institutes-susi-for-student-leaders-from-europe/study-of-the-u-s-institutes-susi-for-student-leaders-from-europe
- My Fulbright Experience (written in Portuguese): http://www.fulbright.pt/articles/my-fulbright-experience/emilia-de-abreu
- Studying in the USA! When, What and Why? http://simplicityischic.blogspot.pt/2015/07/studying-at-usa-when-what-and-why.html
- Exclusive Report From a Fulbright Foundation Scholarship Recipient: http://uduni.com/fulbright-foundation-scholarship-susi-application