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 as a member of the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship Program! In this article our amazing contributor Emília de Abreu continues to describe her experience, sharing her learnings with the Uduni community once again!
DAY # 2
From night to day light!
At the second day in Kansas State, I met my student mentor: the student that was guiding me and three more European students in Manhattan, Kansas. She took us to a party hosted by her dad at his house. It was on the 3rd of July, the day before America’s Birthday. The party was threw as part of the 4th of July celebrations. There were around 50 guests and all of them seemed friendly and warmth from the very start.
We stood at the party until around 11 pm and we all had the opportunity to watch a terrific and colossal firework show.
Memo: In the 18th century, representatives of the 13 colonies were fighting in a revolutionary fight for independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd of 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favour of independence, and two days later the Declaration of Independence (a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson) was adopted. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of the American independence, commemorated with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
My first impression of America and Americans was that they are undoubtedly patriotic. America is considered a “salad bowl” of different cultures that interact together and influence each other, additionally with the contribution made by them on the USA’s growth. Given these reasons it is understandable why all Americans are so devoted to their culture: the feeling of knowing that their roots/ ancestors helped in a country creation makes more than sense for you to be proud about your inheritance every day.
Getting ready for the Independence Day involved very loyal and nationalistic preparation. I got perplexed when I was told that we had a budget of $300 to spend ONLY in fireworks, and believe me fireworks are really cheap!
I wondered what was so special about it and why all Americans get magnetized by it. There were several stand tents cropping up all over; flags everywhere, in every street and almost everything was white, red and blue (the colours of the American flag).
WHY ARE FIREWORKS SO IMPORTANT?
All gets back to history:
Fireworks have been with Americans since the Nation’s early beginnings, its initial application was to persuade the population in the conviction of unification. Also, in the 18th century politicians made use of it to attract crowds into their speeches. It was no coincidence that there was a firework show at George Washington’s Inauguration!
At this day, almost everybody wore blue outfits and if you remember, the blue in the American flag means “vigilance, perseverance, and justice”.
The red colour stands for hardiness and bravery, while the white symbolize purity and innocence. The stars represent the American States, while the stripes express the 13 initial States.
CULTURAL SHOCKS & CURIOSITIES:
The Independence Day was spent in David Carter’s house, one of the instructor of the Summer Institute for European Student Leaders. David and his family invited to their house all the European students and received us with arms wide open. During my trip I could see that all American families are really welcoming and everybody is warm and friendly from the very start.
- Nothing to hide: When showing their house, the Carter family had nothing to hide! Whereas a Portuguese family would only show the house’s common areas to a first-time guest, the Carter family were no shy exhibiting all the house’s divisions, including the bedrooms and neither while telling their family stories!
- Americans learn how to drive when they are really young:One of the Carter’s family members, who is only 14, is already able to legally drive! I was shocked when I knew it! I only got my driving licence when I was 19!
- “Arms REALLY wide open”:Hospitality is never absent around the Carter family. In fact, the family was hosting in their house a participant of the program from last year, who would stay with them during the whole month. Also, we were told that if we at some point needed anything (and they meant it) we could always go to their house, even if we felt homesick or wished to cook a house made meal. (This last detail is really important because what we ate all the time was food from the derby or from some local restaurant).
You can also check part 1 by clicking here, part 2 by clicking here and part 3 by clicking here of this Fulbright Foundation Scholarship series of articles!
Author: Emília de Abreu
“One of my biggest traits is to search for reasons and motives, I am very careful about my choices and decisions. Notably, I always take great satisfaction from being busy and productive, especially when I am writing or working with brands, press and media as part of my blogger tasks.” Fulbright Alumnus: Portuguese Student Leader Representative at SUSI on Environmental Stewardship 2015. Currently studying Economics at ISCTE Business School and blogging at Simplicity is Chic.