Written by Liliia Maliarchuk, Fall 2019 Professional Fellow from Ukraine
One of the great sources of motivation for my participation in the Professional Fellows Program was the possibility of living with an American family during my fellowship. As people are the main source of inspiration for me when traveling to other countries. I always want to engage in conversation with local people, get to know them, their values, stories, perspectives and to learn from their experiences. This always gives me a better understanding of a new country, its culture, history, aspirations for the future. In a very powerful way, it enriches me personally and makes the journey very memorable and inspirational.
Receiving the first letter from my host family from Newton which is in Massachusetts, I felt that it was a perfect match for me. I was even happier after arriving and having our first dinner together. I had my first weekend with the family even before seeing the other important part of the PFP – work placement – and I was already 100 % certain that my stay in the US would be very meaningful, fulfilling, and satisfying.
My hosts, Suzanne and Bill (and their two cats – Boris and Blue cat), warmly welcomed me into their family. Every day we had unforgettable dinners with meals from every corner of the world, as Suzanne loves to cook. Almost every day, I eat dishes I have never tried before in a very inspirational atmosphere with great music, candles and inspiring conversations that enrich my life with new perspectives and experiences.
To my surprise, my host family had a connection to Ukraine, as Suzanne’s first husband was Ukrainian, but was born outside of Ukraine during the Second World War. Even though he has never lived in Ukraine, he and his family kept Ukrainian traditions and family legacy over the years and Ukraine has been an important part of their family story. The garden has many beautiful flowers among which are flowers that grew from seeds family brought from Ukraine when escaping the war. The seeds traveled through many countries and continents and found new home in Suzanne’s house in Newton.
My Professional Fellows experience is great and a big part of this is due to my host family and the people I met here. They keep their hearts and minds open, and their perspectives contribute a lot to creating a personal change in every person in their lives. I have enjoyed every minute with my family and now I am strongly committed to introducing sports, dances and even more books into my life, no matter how busy it will be.