By Sem Sundara, Cambodia
I and other Pro-fellows from Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam arrived to Missoula, Montana State of the U.S on October4, 2014 for participation to the Economic Empowerment Fellows Program which have been organized by the Mansfield Center, University of Montana, and funded by the U.S Department of State. We have stayed at the Holiday Inn Hotel by sharing room according to the organizers, Ms. Deena Mansour and Ms. Kelsy Stamm’s arrangement.
The 1st day in Missoula, MT, I am so exciting with weather, beautiful city and feel very proud as the dream come true for me. I also enjoyed very much for the welcome luncheon with American Food at Ms. Deena’s house. At that time, I have a chance to meet with American people, especially hosted family and fellows partners/coordinators to share information concerning cultures, work experiences, fun stories that made me so happy and relax from the long trip and home sick as well.
During we stayed in Missoula, we learned many things from professors of the University of Montana such as: American Cultural Values, An Introduction to U.S Government, Business Communication, Intercultural Conflict Resolution & Negotiation, Successful Marketing Strategies, and Business Planning and U.S. Systems at the Montana Community Development Corporation.
From the above subjects, I understand quite good the U.S government system and structures, and the framework of small business development, loan procedure for small business and business financials management and analysis of the U.S. It is so fantastic to have such Montana CDC to assist in development of small business plan because it is doing excitingly what the small business want to do- giving a leg up to people who would not have had it otherwise, and it is surely success of the business in the communities. I also think that communication is not only a key point toward the business success but it is also a good tool for peace-keeping in the world.
Moreover, we have visited the Missoula City Hall to meet with the Major John Engen and his colleagues to discuss the environmental management, tourism, and economic issues to Missoula City, Montana State.
In addition, we have visited the Glenwood Farm (Sheep Farm) of Madam Jan Tusick and Mr. Will located at Polsen, Montana Stated to exchange experiences on American’s culture and agricultural products with Pro-fellows from Southeast Asia countries.
After a week stayed at Holiday Inn Hotel in Missoula, I have moved to stay at the house of Mr. John C. Roger and Madam Judy Roger as the American Hosted Family in Helena, Montana 59620. Mr. Roger is working for the U.S Government as a Chief Business Development Officer at the Office of the Governor of the Montana State, and Madam Judy Roger is working for Montana State Law Library at the Justice Building. They have given me a nice bed room and a living room with fully furniture at the ground floor.
They both are very kind and friendly to me. I stay with them I feel very comfortable and look like my own house because they have fed and treated me as their son or American relationship. Every day, I have to accompany Mr. John Roger to his office to learn from him. On the way to and back from the office, he have told me a lot things concerning the American histories, American culture, education and management system, especially economic development in Montana. Moreover, he has sent me and others two fellows, Ms. Thandar from Myanmar and Mr. Viet from Vietnam to attend workshop on Business Plan and Development for Montana. And today, he brought us to Billing city with him to join the FedEx Ribbon Cutting/grand opening of the FedEx Ground Transportation.
Mr. John Roger and Madam Judy Roger are not the hosted family but they are a good teachers and very good bosses who always concern about me and have given me an opportunity to learn every things from his works at the office including his responsibilities and activities as a Chief Business Development for the Montana.
I really proud that I have been selected as Pro-Fellows to participate the Economic Empowerment Program 2014, and luckily stayed at Mr. John C. Roger and Madam Judy Roger as the American Hosted Family. All good things that I have learned from the Mansfield Center, UM, from other Fellows, from Hosted Family and partners during I stay in the State of Montana, U.S, I will bring these experience to share with my friend, and colleagues in Cambodia.
I wish the SEA or ASEAN become a very good cooperation partner with the U.S. Pro-Fellows- #YSEALI 2014.