Tag Archives: Annandale

You Are Not Alone

Participating in Women’s March in Washington DC was the first time for me. I am glad that I was able to join millions of other women to rise up for what we believe in, for our rights to be heard. It was a great experience. Walking side by side with not only women but also men without looking at our races or religions or other differences in fact everyone was very friendly, supportive and caring. I have been living in USA for 6 months but that day I saw such crowd I’ve never seen before. At the Metro station there were so many people who tried to get in the train, there was almost no space inside that everyone had to tolerate the situation and try to make room for more people to come in. Before, whenever I used Metro people didn’t really talk to other people but at that moment I saw how people would lend other people their hands to come into the train, to help others. I and my sisters met their friends, they came with posters and other attributes that represented things that everybody was standing for, respect for woman, women rights, etc. People gathered and started encouraging each others with speeches, sometimes we also sang songs or simply walking down the streets. That day I learned something I never learned in the classroom, to always stand up for what I believe, to speak up for it, to not feel small in front of others. This kind of opportunity for women is very hard to get in my country, India, as girls are not treated equally. For example, girls in India can barely continue their education after 10th grade, this breaks my heart and I hope I can be a help for this social problem. Another problem is the lack of support for LGBTQ community in my country, they don’t have anybody to stand for them, for their rights. I felt so bad thinking about my people especially the suppressed ones, when I witnessed how people in United States can freely express their struggles and they also have so much freedom and support from other people, I wish for the same thing in my country as well. I really concern about how bad the girls in my country are treated. They are not safe if they go out after 10pm, there’s always a possibility that they will get raped. If they are working and coming home late neighbors will start talking bad about themselves without knowing that they work hard only to support their families. I hope I can help my community to start standing for girls by sharing the knowledge and experience I have gained to them and hopefully it will bring change. I know it will be difficult but it is worth trying.

Post written by Nilofar Shaikh, CCI participant at NOVA, 2016-2017, India

Maximize your campus’s resources

As students, especially as CCI students, we do have a lot of things to do. Doing some off campus activities, such as internships, volunteering in order to get engaged to our community is a privilege for us to experience it, yet getting engaged to our campus also important and worth being. I assume that a good way to get engaged with campus is by using the resources that has been provided for us and absolutely they are free.

Library on the Annandale Campus

One of the resources that almost everyday I visit is The Library. If you hear the word “library”, you would have imagined dozens of books and a huge quiet room that sometimes makes you bored and sleepy, but yet there are actually a lot of interesting and useful things to do there. Besides for reading books, you can also use others tools such as computers, digital media studios, group study rooms, laptop kiosks, electronic equipments in circulation desks (cameras, tablets, camera accessories, calculators, audio equipments), and also chess arena for the chess likers. You can use those tools to do your assignment, or even just for fun, to release your stress after doing a lot of work. Since you get a free wifi connection, you can use the computers or laptops just to listen to your favorite music on youtube, etc, and of course for tablets, camera, calculators and some other stuff you can borrow and bring them home for generally 7 days with 1 renewal.

Fitness Center in CE

Besides library, particularly for those who spend a lot of time in Annandale campus, in the same building where the library is, there are also some sources that are very helpful and useful in order to renew, sharpen and even gain new knowledge in writing center, language center, and math & science center. From the CG building, we can also connect to CE building through the corridor on the first floor where we can also do some sports activities in Fitness Center, basketball/volleyball arena and dance room. Last but not least other sources that I want to share are Counseling Center and Career & Transfer Center that I already had an experience with when I was consulting about my resume. I got another point of view and some advice from the advisors and it turned out well for me.

So, guys, I know sometimes we feel like we do not need them because we are already know about those kind of things, but who knows, maybe when you go to writing center, language center or career advisor, you will meet people that link you to another opportunity for internships, volunteer or other kinds of good events that you never imagine before. Or now you have another skill by knowing another language, movie making, photographing, just by using those resources. So, for those who haven’t been using those sources effectively, I suggest you guys to start using them right now because I truly believe that it’s not a waste of time to use these resources and at the end of this program when we already reach our home countries, we are going to bring something worth telling to our folks about our campus and community, besides definitely our wonderful personal experiences here in USA.

Post written by Natallia Rumboirussy, CCI participant at NOVA 2016-2017, Indonesia

There Must Be A Way

It was cloudy that day, January 12th 2017, our seventh day in Arizona for CCI Program mid year retreat. Sergio, our bus driver, rode the bus slow enough that we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way to Sedona. It took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach Cathedral Rock Trail where we would start our Silent Reflections Hike. Andrew, CCI staff who has become more like a friend, gave us short briefing about the hike and its purpose few minutes before we got off the bus. We were encouraged to stop talking the second we stepped down from the bus and to find our own path to climb up to the top of the rock therefore we could have personal time to reflect on our life and goals we have set or other things that matter. We could also skim for small rock along the trail which we felt like representing ourselves or things that are important to us and we might take it home as memory-keeper from Sedona for us. He understood that some of us might not take that silent hike seriously and he was right. Some people were still talking when we started walking up the trail. I decided to get off the bus after most of my friends had left. As my friends followed the trail, I turned to different path remembering what Andrew told us. I walked through a small river and bushes and trees without saying a word. At first I thought I would not enjoy that hike and the silence but it turned out to be different. I loved the silence so much that I wished I was the only person there at that very moment, or I could walk far enough that my friends’ voices wouldn’t be heard.

I kept walking and sometimes jumping over some rocks. There were times when I got scared thinking of snake or tarantula would come out from the rocks or bushes along my way but I remembered somebody once told me that they all would be hiding during winter so I should be safe. Once I got rid of all the scary thoughts that hike became more enjoyable. I confidently walked toward the big rocks standing in front of me and was determined to climb them up even though it seemed difficult. Whenever I reached the points where it looked like there was no way up, I would tell myself “No Cessy, there must be a way! Don’t give up!”. Then I would go round the rock and found that way. I crawled. I slid. I held on the tips of the rocks. I prayed that I will not fall down.

A small heart-shaped rock caught my eyes when I finally reached the top of the rocks. I took it and gave myself some time to think of the meaning of that small rock for me. I came to conclusion that love has always been the strongest force on earth for me. I always believe that whatever we do if it comes out of love it will bear fruit. In the middle of chaos and bad things that happen all around the world, even a small action of love will bring peace and hope for those who are hopeless. There will be times when I feel like giving up on people or my dreams to help my community, at those times I should remember the very reason why I start doing whatever I have planned on doing to help my community which is to share the love.
Silent hike was the best memory of mine during the midyear retreat simply because I learned not to give up easily when I reached the dead end but to try to find another way. I was also reminded that I should not underestimate the power of love, that it doesn’t matter how small the help I can be for my people as long as I do it with love it will touch them.

Post written by Picessylia Anakay, CCI Participant at NOVA 2016-2017, Indonesia

My CCI Journey; 12 Countries 1 Family

fazilet-orucSometimes, I want to be a lucky person. Then, I couldn’t believe that 6 months ago I would be able to receive a scholarship to study in the United States of America. Having been offered this good opportunity, I am learning that everything is possible in life, I cannot thank the Turkish Fulbright Program enough. To achieve my career goals it will take 10 months of studying, volunteering and internship. When I landed at the Washington Dulles International Airport I expected to feel the excitement so much because I didn’t want to forget that moment but I could not really feel anything at all; I think I was shocked. When my school coordinator came to pick me up from the airport and drove me to the house I am currently staying in I was very excited. I met my housemates. I figured out that everybody has different accent since we all come from different countries. For the first few weeks I couldn’t understand anything my new friends were saying so I was always carrying around a pen and paper to write the new English words I was learning. I was just listening to conversations between them, asking myself, what does it mean?  What did you mean? How can I say this sentence? When I said a sentence, I would ask, did I say it right? 3 months passed with these questions. By the way, the only thing I can recommend to those who want to join this program is to bring their English to the top level before coming here.  I never give up.  The reason for not giving up is that I want to learn English in the best way and when I return to Turkey, I want to get a very nice job. The other most important thing is that my friends and my school coordinators in the CCI Program are doing their best to help me. All my friends say, “Yes you are doing well now Fazilet and you wıll be doing even better in the next couple of months”, which gives me an incredible feeling. I try to do everything alone but my friends never made me feel like I was alone. To finally be here and have friends who help is something awesome for me. Thank you so much for having such a beautiful family…

9-11-day-group-picture

Post written by Fazilet Oruc, CCI Participant at NOVA 2016-2017, Turkey

This blog post was originally published on Fazilet’s blog

We

So here we are! In United States of America! We are from 12 different countries, 32 different individuals, 32 different thoughts came through 1 same program. Yes, we know we are very diverse. We concur we argue; we lose we dream.

pew-1
First week at Lake Accotink Park, photo by Moises Gomez

All of us who made it here it was not easy for us to be here. We had gone through a lot in our life or in the past. Some are told some are untold. And some of our story will make you stop breathing! But we are strong, open minded and very much optimistic.  Perhaps the one quality we all have in common is we have the power of adaptability to accept the change. We are adorning our present and future instead of holding the past.

pew-2
First trip to Washington, DC

We remember the day we met in July 2016. Some of us traveled for 5 hours and some of us traveled for 45 hours! Physically we felt like we are dying but our hearts on that time were flying beyond the sky! The first day we introduce with each other was through icebreakers game at Annandale campus and what we didn’t realize at that time is the icebreakers was actually started to break the ice of our heart which had shadow of confusion about each other’s culture. Since that day we have started our journey of friendship. CSI class, International Youth Leadership Assembly, U.S Capitol Building, Library of Congress, National Monument, Scavenger Hunt, Great Falls, United Nations’ HeForShe panel discussion, birthday celebration, Accotink park, baseball game, ghost and graveyard tour, ice hockey, pumpkin picking at Cox Farms and so many places we visited together in those four months. Besides we are taking our classes, searching for our internship, volunteering, doing homework, preparing for test, presentations, having sleepless night for group project and working on our action plan. We know it sounds like crazy busy schedule but trust us, every bit of it is worthy.  Maybe the country we are from is one of the least developed country in the world but the potentiality we have is one of the best in the world. So we know how to manage our stress in the workload and that’s why we were chosen.

pew-4
Meeting with Mark Sweeney, Legislative Corespondent for Senator Mark Warner

It’s true that in the writing there is so many of we and so many of togetherness but we believe “If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together”

Post written by Pew Chowdhury, CCI Participant at NOVA 2016-2017, Bangladesh

My Life in a Year

It all started with a dream to study in USA. A dream to live a student life in the states. CCI has helped me to make this dream true. Started my journey in June 2014 which changed my whole life, my perception towards life and made me emotional too. LOL
I remember myself as a big guy with low confidence and trying to make new friends. Trying to adjust with new people and being over-friendly which led to a lot of misinterpretations about me among people. The only women who was with me as true mentor, a true guardian was Kelly Forbes. ‘’You don’t have to be fake and over-friendly to make friends” her words that changed me. She’s the best gift that USimg_8104A has given me. I can’t forget her early morning messages when I was in Las Vegas “Akhlaq don’t spend all of your money’’ I bet no other coordinator would have been as concerned as she was with me. She pushed me far away from my self-bound limits to be independent and to be responsible. If I really want to describe her in one word she was mother and I’m fortunate to have her in my life as coordinator.

Jaclyn Ruybalid Krueger! The enthusiast coordinator whenever I saw her she was there with that beautiful smile. She always had a positive energy which reflects on her face that can change everyone’s day.

 

In my experimg_8102ience I’ve found many common skills with each CCI participants and I tried to upgrade myself to be better than before. I’ve learned so many things from these that I can’t mention them. I never thought I would be surrounded by so many pearls from different countries and getting to know them. Friends from CCI is the best thing one can have. Experiencing friendship other than CCI was bonus for me as I got to know people from Afghanistan, Thailand, Korea, and Ethiopia……. Omg! The list is never ending. In short I’ve friends from all over the world.

Volunteering at events and enjoying those events with free food, can’t describe that happiness.


These events taught me to serve for community. I never thought I would complete my volunteering hours without Luiza Arnaud and Bassem Alfy these guys always pushed me for volunteering. Talking with Khaled Soltanto (Habibi) always motivated me to get something I liked. My roommates were typically awesome hahahaha! Each of those guys have different perception for the same common thing. Whether its 12am or 1am and I wanted to go to DC Harold was always ready. Gymming with Andre (Brazilian) and Sifiso (South African) was an amazing experience and I can say I had international trainers. Dzidepo Kofi this Ghanaian guy taught me to play soccer and party hard! How could I forget the beauties of CCI Lekagugu, Joannita, Sandra, Gamze, and Luiza I miss you girls.
img_8105 Praveen and Nabila will have a great importance in my life I’ve learned a lot from you guys. Hope to see you soon.

On my return my friends asked what did you do in states? And what did you brought along with you from states? To which I replied “I lived my life in a year and I brought a promise to see those face again who made my life worth living there”

img_8106

Post written by Akhlaq Khan, CCI participant at NOVA, 2015-2016, India

Don’t Give Up On People

First day of fall semester, I woke up early, got ready and stood by the bus stop an hour before my class started. It took around 30 minutes to get to Annandale campus by the bus so I would try to kill the time by talking to my fellow friends and when we had nothing else to talk about I would just put my earphone on to listen to my favorite songs. I remembered I was so excited that finally I would meet and make real American friends, I planned to get to the class early so when they came in I would smile and greet them then introduce myself. I was the first person in the classroom, 30 minutes to go before the class started. I looked around, empty chairs and tables soon to be used by my “friends” even “best friends-to-be”. I waited for a while then decided to get a cup of coffee and chocolate croissant from the small in-campus Starbucks counter since I hadn’t had breakfast. Fifteen minutes before the class started, I was sipping my latte and taking small bite of the croissant when a girl came in, I smiled then she smiled back and quickly looked away before I could say hello. That moment made me realized that making friends here wouldn’t be as easy as back home.

As time passes by, I start to notice that people don’t really talk to other people in classroom unless they have to. People don’t really making friends in classroom. They come in, sit down, take notes, sign the attendance form, and then leave. I tried to talk to my classmates couple of times but outside the classroom they tend to act like they don’t know you so after a while I gave up on them. I would still say hello but I stopped putting efforts to get to know them better. Later on during the club fair at campus I met people who called themselves International Friends. They are basically doing a lot of fun activities to connect students or people from all around the world. First time I joined them we did Scavenger Hunt, we got to go to various places in Alexandria and even DC, the last destination was a park and we had BBQ there. My team turned out to be the winner of the game, we got simple gift, but the best gift for me was the people I got to meet there and then at campus since they also go to NVCC Annandale campus. Our friendship grows day by day with more and more people joining in. Most of us are international students, there are some from Belgium, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Perú, Egypt, China, Italy, Mongolia and other countries. They are all very friendly and fun. It’s good that now I will have friends to hang out with during lunch break, or to go to watch movie with, or to support me when I wanted to audition for NOVA Idol, or to play ping pong with after classes, or simply to talk to and share stories with. You go to school to study but that’s not the only thing you will gain from school. School also will give you the chance to make friends, to expand your network, and even for some people to build their social skill. You never know where life will take you, at some points your friends will help you to reach the success of your life by motivating or inspiring you. So, don’t ever give up on people or making friends.

Post written by Picessylia Anakay, CCI Participant at NOVA 2016-2017, Indonesia

Home Away From Home

A family consists with father, mother, brother and sister. I had everything over there.
This is the very last picture of us together at the White House. I have seen how life changes very fast. I had such a period of life where I thought I couldn’t help myself anymore. At that time my study could be stopped forever. That was my only hope to get the scholarship and take a chance to change my life. I worked really hard and I made that.
nabila-7The soil felt like home: I had no imagination about the USA. I had only the idea that people are very white there and the country is very cold. It took me 27 hours flight to get there. It was too much for me because it was the first time I was traveling out of my country. I got really sick while traveling. After getting there we were informing so many rules and regulations. I can tell you I wasn’t even getting 60% of 100% they were telling me because I was in very bad jet lag . Days were passing very well and slowly slowly I got very comfortable and started liking everything around me. Every step I was taking around the USA I felt like home. People are very very nice and kind. The American people know how to welcome guests in their country. They are very diverse and they respect each other’s culture. I have never felt like it is not my home. I have always felt like home especially at my departure time, I was crying. Even now I always consider that USA is my second home.
Transformation of Nabila: Nabila has transformed with new ideas and hopes. After coming back to Bangladesh I have really felt that I have changed and I can think little differently. The education, the diversity of cultures and the situations taught me a lot. I have learned every single day. The classes of Mr. Paco made me thinking differently. I like the change in me a lot.

nabila-8
Friendship & Brotherhood: This part I can write all day long. I have friends from alnabila-2l over the world now. Everyone were very good friend of mine. People says while you are in problem you can find only real friend around you. I had a bad situation where I have lost my phone and I have totally broken down. My friend & brother Khaled supported me unconditionally. Most of my CCI friends such as Praveen, Sifiso,Yeison, Luiza, Akhlaq, Andres were with me that day. I can’t tell you I was feeling I was the most blessed girl in the entire universe. This picture has taken at 12 am in the morning when I got back my phone.
nabila-1Let’s come to another two special beautiful girls. Sister Alin and Nana were the partans of my house. We had most good and bad time together. Sister Alin became my sister within some days. When I felt sick this two always there for me. Nana was the grandmother of the house and sister Alin and I was the kid of the house. She always checked on us and directed us how to do thing in the house and also asked us to eat properly. Nana is very caring girl. We really enjoyed her directions.
Here come to my brothers lists. I have got so many brothers in the USA. Akhlq, Shina and Khaled they have been always there for me. My friend Sifiso from South Africa who I used to go with my problems and he never said no. Everyone is very special for mnabila-5e. I don’t want to miss any name. How can I forget Deyanti Manalu. She is the most loving girl who always been like my teacher. I have had very good time with Joanita, Yuli, Yeidi, Moreen, Chwayita and Charmaine too.

Now come to the most important friend of mine. She was my “24Hours”. There was not any day we were not together. She is the kindest women I have even seen. She is like a sister. We had most crazy and good time together. She is Sandra Appiah from Ghana. We have got more than thousands pictures together and memories.

nabila-6
nabila-9Mentors: We have got the kindest mentors. I used to wait the whole day for emails from Ms. Leeza and Ms. Amira before going to the USA. They are just amazing women. They are the inspirations for us. How beautifully they are managing the program. It is not easy to deal with people from different countries.
The other two beautiful women who were like our mother. The compliment is not enough in front of their contributions for us. Ms. Jaclyn and Ms. Kelly always tried their best to provide us the best of best. One day I can remember Ms Jaclyn came to Sandra’s apartment at about 8pm hearing that they have got the bug’s problem in the house and she started helping them with cleaning and putting all the staffs in the bags. That day I realized she is really like a mother who never thing twice to help when kids are in their bad time. We have another mother is Ms. Kelly. She is the very strong women. Not only me but also the team Annandale always found her by their side. She did every possible thing for us. She gave her 100% even thought her daughter was very sick at that time. She drove us so many places. Loved us like a mother. I can’t write anything more about her then I’ll start crying.
In the end I can finish with writing that almighty have given me the most beautiful experiences. I promise one day we will meet somewhere in this beautiful universe. Miss you guys.

nabila-10
CCI NOVA 2015-2016, Baltimore, MD

Post written by Nabila Akter, CCI Participant at NOVA 2015-2016, Bangladesh

It not only teaches education…

Community College Initiative (CCI) Program- a one year non degree program that provides education for foreign students in US but this is what the rest of the world know. Participants feel that , it is an invaluable experience of gaining- knowledge, strengths, friends,family and courage of accomplishing goals. The beauty of the program is, no participant leaves US in the same way when he/she came here.

praveen-3
CCI NOVA 2015-2016 in Harper’s Ferry, WV with John Sedlins from ECA

My story of coming into CCI began on my birthday of 2014. It was the day when I filled in the first application to participate in CCI. I asked god to make it my birthday gift by giving me this chance. My prayers and wishes of my friends and family worked, finally I landed in United states as a participant.

praveen-7During the program time, there is no day where I did not learn something new even ipraveen-5t may be one of my mistakes or weakness. The people in the program add more beauty to it. My social host whom I got from the program is no lesser than a Friend, philosopher, guide and a father to me. The love and care showed by them is irreplaceable.

The time never stops we need to move as well. Finally the day came, every participant was ready with their baggage for bon voyage. That’s when we missed everyone more. We remembered the words from a wonderful lady of our program “we all are under the same sky, some or the other day we will see each other again.”

praven-2

Things would not be normal for a CCIPian after coming home again. Every participant is filled with the power to do something or experience new things for the betterment of community. In my case, one of the good things that I did after coming back is participating in a Model United Nations conference as a delegate of praveen-1UNITED STATES. The motion for that session is International Terror and World Peace and who would not want it after having a family around the globe. The things that I do before and after program are almost same but the dedication, confidence and accuracy increased. One thing that I can never forget from the program- we lose the game but we won’t lose our players. Miss you all out there.
———we love NOVA———-
——–Thank you CCI———-

praveen-6

Post written by Praveen Mandadi, CCI participant at NOVA 2015-2016, India

Time Creates Relationships

Nothing can heal the wounds of time.  When global strangers
meet for the first time, it is impossible to quantify the depths of relationships that would soon develop.

Although the following few months these strangers ssifiso-blog-3pend with each other can be dubbed as great times, they are faced with unceremoniously relinquishing the bond that each has developed.

The Community College Initiative (CCI) was an opportunity for me to meet students from different parts of the globe and take part in a culture exchange to create awareness/consciousness about South Africa and our standard of living while learning of cultures outside mine.

The time we were to spend in America seemed immense in the beginning; many of us took longer than others to adjust to being away from family and doing things on our own. This was a challenging transitions that required great patience and understanding.

sifiso-fransis

 Fransis and Yeison had become my new family and our apartment had become my new home. All three of us were bringing different experiences, cultures, customs, religions and ways of life into one house. Like any family, we had our problems but always found a way around them.


friends-for-sifiso-post
Time had brought a lot of us closer than we had anticipated. We always celebrated each other’s victories and achievements; encouraged and gave each other a shoulder to cry on when things got overwhelming. We became each other’s biggest fans and sometimes worst critics.

 sifiso-blog-1Like most people in the program I had pockets of homesickness; for the most part it felt as though the closer we edge to our departure date the more excited and anxious we became. Our last month was perhaps the most ‘confusing’ emotively. I was excited about going home to my family and friends in South Africa but also saddened by the reality of having to leave my family and friends in the United States of America.

The CCI-NOVA participants had become family; a home away from home and for the duration of the program they were all I had. The day we had to separate and all head back to our respective countries was perhaps sadder than the day I had to say goodbye to family and friends when I was coming to the USA.sifiso-blog-2

Perhaps we were overwhelmed by the spatiotemporal limitations and having to readjust to not seeing each other as often as we were. Fortunately for us, we live in the age of technology where communication isn’t restricted to people in the same country or area anymore.

It is a pleasure to have met each and every person in the program; It is an honour to have shared and learnt from your advise, wisdom and sometimes encouragement to just “relax and take it easy”

I trust that time has strengthened our bonds to overcome the Kilometres that stand between us. I still maintain that we all have what it takes to change and shape the world to the kind of society we envision for ourselves and future generations.

 We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…

2015-16-group-for-sifisos-post

Post written by  Sifiso Ngobeni, CCI participant at NOVA 2015-2016, South Africa