Written by Phoutsavad Vongphachan, Lao PDR.
#YSEALI pro fellows.
Well, this is the first time for me to post in the Mansfield Center’s blog. I have been in the U.S. for 13 days but I still feel as excited as the first day I arrived. For instance, when I look at the trees around the city with so many colors and the style of the houses that are simple and Unique. I want to say “A very beautiful city and friendly people in Missoula, Montana – I absolutely love you”. I feel like my English skill has improved a lot already so it makes me want to have a lot of conversations in English with my fellows’ friends and American people as much as I can.
I am very appreciative and want to express my thanks to Dr Tobin Shearer, Ms Aminta Patel Greer, Professor Christopher Muste, Ms. Caroline Simms and Dr. Joan Giese for kindly sharing very valuable information to us. The things that I have learned from you are really helpful and important for me and my work – I believe that I can utilize the knowledge that I have learned from all of you to improving my work to be better and share those with other people in Laos.
It is just 2 days that I have stayed with my lovely host family in Missoula. Sally Thompson is an anthropologist and has worked with the indigenous tribes throughout Montana. She has three grown children who no longer live in her home, although one daughter lives in Missoula and teaches primary school. I have left my sweet and kindly host family to join the 2014 International Immersion Conference in Salt Lake City (a 2 hour plane trip from Missoula to Salt Lake City).
I am in Salt Lake City, Utah with my dear fellowship coordinator Dr. Heather Davis Schmidt. I was very surprised to be one of the participants of an International Language Immersion conference. I have met many people that work as a teacher, school principal or in the education system that can help me understand the education system in the U.S. Moreover, before we came here I had the opportunity to see how the district level, especially Missoula County Public Schools and Dr Heather Davis Schmidt work really hard to develop the education system in Missoula public schools. I was able to see a school board meeting where the public was involved in making decisions about education. “Thank you very much Dr Heather Davis Schmidt”.
Deena and Kelsey (Mansfield Center) I also want to express my thankful for your kindness, supportive and warm hospitality for us during all the time we are here with you. Kelsey, you work very hard for us and I have learned a lot from you (I love your smile).