written by Ece Karakus from Turkey
Two weeks have already gone since I got to Salem, Oregon and I have already started to feel myself privileged to be a part of this program. I have a great host family, the Chandlers, who are so welcoming that not only they try to do their best to make me feel at home, but also very generous in making plans for me to travel, meet new people and participate in local events to get a better understanding of the local community. So far, I have already volunteered in a popular local bicycle ride -“Monster Cookie Bicycle Ride” – participated in May Day celebrations in Salem with locals, and went to the Mexican festival Cinco de Mayo in Portland, of which I had no idea before I came here.
Despite being a professional program and offering the participants a great deal of opportunities regarding their professional occupation, I think Professional Fellows Program should also be acknowledged with what it offers to fellows regarding once in a lifetime experiences. As I have said although it has only been 2 weeks since I arrived in Salem, I have already made so many memories. My visit to Oregon coast, Pacific Ocean with my host family is one of those memories which I am very excited about to share with my relatives, friends when I am back at home 🙂
Also in my worksite, Governor’s Office of Oregon, I have such a lovely and inspiring supervisor, Nikki Fisher, that she has been setting up meetings for me to understand the functioning of the state government. I have so far met and get the chance to have a talk in diverse issues with state representatives, Governor’s policy advisors, and representatives of NGOs. But among all, I have had the privilege to meet with the Governor, Kate Brown herself, and even travel with her and her press secretaries to another city, Eugene, where I attended to certain events and meetings. I must say how lucky I felt being a part of it.
As a last word, all I want a say to those who has been thinking of applying the program:
Leave your worries aside and do your best to become a PFP fellow! You will never regret it 🙂