Alumni stories

SUSI:Experiencing the U.S.A

My name is Chuluuntumur and I am a secondary school English teacher from Darkhan. It is my pleas-ure to share my experience of participating in the SUSI program and visiting the United States in the alumni newsletter. SUSI program was an absolutely huge step in my life not only because it was my first time abroad but also because it allowed me to see and experience what I teach in classroom in real life.

On the first day I was extremely worried about get-ting lost at the airport because it was not only first time on the plane but also my first long trip. At the O’Hare I tried to call the people who were waiting for me but I didn’t have any coins, only banknotes. However, I soon met the person from UIC who came to pick me up from the airport and felt really re-lieved. Welcoming process was well organized. On the second day we had a day off in order to get out of the jetlag. When I woke up, I was really excited being in America and couldn’t wait to look around,  so I went out do shopping. My first food I bought was a doughnut which seemed too sweet to me I wondered why people are so fond of it. I tried it be-cause some students of mine had asked about it several times during my English class back in Mongolia. So last September, when I returned from the SUSI program I showed my photos to my students and told them that I found the answers to their questions. The photos which were taken in the Millennium Park attracted them a lot especially pic-tures of an American couple and bridesmaids.

There was a nice opportunity for us to see an advertisement for Backstreet boys’s concert while in Chicago. I was very fond of some of their songs. Six of us decided to watch the performance and had fun all the evening. The way they performed was very dif-ferent than their counterparts in Mongolia. So, not only it was great for me to hear their voice in person but also to experience a different style to watch an event. Americans were having dinner or drink sitting on the chairs next to the tables on the grass which they had prepared intentionally before the concert. After 28 days we left Chicago for a tour. During this time we visited gorgeous places such as Las Vegas, Telluride, Salt Lake City /a church/, New York /Statue of Liberty/, Washington, /White House, museums/, and Philadelphia /Bell of Liberty / etc.

Besides experiencing great places, I made many good friends who came from almost all over the world.

I had 3 roommates from Pakistan, Belgium. My friend from Pakistan and I made milk tea together which is a common drink in our countries but I drank it with salt, she drank it with sugar. We still keep in touch online via the Facebook social networking and are still sharing our teaching experiences. Moreover, my Belgium roommate sug-gested that our students could make friends over the internet and we can ask them, for example, to get information about other countries for homework by communicating with their new pals. When I told my students the news, they were excited.

All in all, I have learned many things thanks to SUSI program from the U.S. State Department. Now I can explain about an American custom based on my real-life experiences, I can describe places and cities in America to my students and as such I can teach Eng-lish more confidentially. Yesterday I read an article about the business sector in the U.S. and I found that Wall Mart, Target, Macy’s and Dominic’s now look very familiar to me. I greatly appreciate the U.S. Embassy and the SUSI program organizers for giv-ing me this big opportunity to know more about the U.S.A.