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Tour De Seattle and Bon Voyage

Nareshwar, a SUSI student from Sri Lanka, writes about what he's experiencing in Seattle.

Over the next month, students from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are in Seattle for a new program coordinated by FIUTS, the Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders in Journalism and New Media (SUSI). Each student will be writing a blog post about the experience. Here's a post by Nareshwar Vaneshwar from Sri Lanka about his experience so far:

I felt fantastic myself and thrilling to visit the Emerald City of the USA, Seattle was the first impression when I got my confirmation from the Embassy of the US for Sri Lanka.

After 28 hours of travel and transit, at around 0015h of 22nd of June we landed here in this beautiful city. It was Catherine who was holding the SUSI name board to receive us at the SeaTac International Airport.

It was chilling and calm since it was an early morning, and we checked-in to a nearby hotel for that night. We couldn’t enjoy the night beauty of the city since we are new and place is so strange for us on the first day. No fun! I know!! After good hours of sleep, Catherine took us to the Alder Hall, UW where we met Alison for the first time. I introduced myself as, “Hi Alison, this is Nareshwar, from Sri Lanka.”

Slowly and steadily I got to use to the Alder, the Lander, UW Ave, The Hub, Stores around the Ave, different food options, and special mention goes to the Local Point (my daily meal provider). It was fascinating to explore all other places around the campus, in the campus and this place is so huge and historical.

Out of my all life changing experiences, I chose here to write the most significant experience which is the visit to Eatonville and Mount Rainier.

Tom drove us to the Eatonville where we met the Editor of local community paper called ‘The Dispatch’ and the Mayor of the town Mike Schaub. We learnt the community or the city centric newspaper reporting and the elements that we could adopt to our own country. The editor shared his own experiences and tips for us the young journalists. Then we had a discussion with the Mayor addressing about the current issues and future plans of the town. It was overall an informative session for all of us, we always tried to map our country scenarios with the Eatonville development.

Eatonville Chamber of Commerce Building

Rest of the day, we spent at the Pack Forest, preparing ourselves for the for the Sunday hike. I was expecting there will be no snow/ice at all on the mountain and just mountain climbing like we do usually in Sri Lanka. But the mountain was full of snow and that made me dancing since this is the first time I am experiencing a proper snow. I felt like winter though it is summer in Seattle.

I took lot of photographs, posted one on Facebook and one of the friends has a comment saying “Dude you are seriously underdressed to hike Mt Rainier” which made to realize that I am wearing a shorts to hike the Mountain. I value this experience as my best outdoor visits ever.

Mt. Rainier

It was good six hours we spent at the Mountain by hiking, playing and enjoying ourselves.

I am really looking forward to visit Chicago and Washington D.C after Seattle and expecting many more adventurous life changing experiences.

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The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, promote a better understanding of the people, institutions, and culture of the United States among foreign students, teachers, and scholars. Study of the U.S. Institutes are short-term academic programs for groups of undergraduate leaders, educators, and scholars from around the world.

The program in Seattle is coordinated by the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS), a local non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Washington that promotes international friendship and cross-cultural understanding in the region. The Seattle Globalist, a daily publication covering the connections between Seattle and the rest of the globe, is collaborating with FIUTS to deliver courses on topics in journalism and new media.

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