Das Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship (“BFTF”) Programm, welches vom US-Außenministerium finanziert wird, ermöglicht Jugendlichen aus Europa und den USA im Rahmen eines vierwöchigen Programms transatlantische Beziehungen zu knüpfen und sich mit politischen und wirtschaftlichen Themen auseinanderzusetzen. START-Oberösterreich Stipendiat Thupten nimmt heuer am BFTF Programm teil und berichtet von seinen Erfahrungen.
After the presentations of our Project Citizens it was time to say goodbye to our host families. Thanks Barb and Marshall Powell for hosting me and Arda for those 10 days. I will never forget the late evening discussions about politics and cinema. Thank you for sharing for your perspectives and introducing us to American cuisine, high school, baseball and your friends.
We then cross-travelled many different states until finally arriving in Philadelphia. The ‘city of brotherly love’ has a lot to offer regarding American history sites and international food. In Washington D.C. we stayed at the George Washington University Campus.
In my free time I visited a number of impressive museums such as the Holocaust Memorial, the African American Heritage museum and The Newseum. On Thursday we visited the State Department (U.S. foreign ministry). We got to meet diplomats and then at simulations we got to be diplomats ourselves.
On Friday I met up with a high-achieving Tibetan-American who I got in contact by chance. He had just passed the Foreign Service Officer’s exam and is currently interning for Congresswoman Spanberger. Mr. Thargay showed me through the Congress office building and introduced me to other staff members on the Capitol.
During that four weeks with BFTF I was amazed by the diversity of the American people. On Thupten Weekly I was only able to showcase just a glimpse of the intensive program. However, the mentors guided us like wewere one big family. On the last day I did not say ‘farewell’ but rather wished my friends a hopeful ‘See you Again’
On that note I want to express my gratitude to the United States embassy in Vienna, especially to Mrs. Schmid-Gerlich.
Special Thanks to our mentors:Anatoli, Asta, Brianna, Cole, Jeff, Kate and Luka