Hey! I’m Sovathana. I’m from Cambodia. This is what I experienced today in Montana, the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. July 3rd, 2015.
What I notice today is that all of the fellows had to come the Native American Centre 15 minutes early before the first lecture started in order to discuss about the reading from a book called A Sand Country Almanac. I think it was a brilliant idea if we read the assigned chapters in advance because we could familiarize ourselves to the lectures. Also, today was the first day that we could not have meals at the Food Zoo, which is the university’s canteen. Thus, the fellows had to cook or find something to eat by themselves and there was a higher possibility that the fellows would be late. So that, by coming to discuss with each other first, we could avoid being late for the lecture.
I find a lecture, called Cross-Cultural Conceptions & Contexts, absolutely amazing because the lecturer knew how to engage with the fellows while explaining the lectures. During the lecture, the thing that grabbed my attention the most was when he told me that American people like breaking the silence when they meet each other in elevators or public parks, although they are strangers, by saying ‘Hey, the weather today is good’ or ‘nice shoes’. That’s what really different from Cambodian culture because Cambodian people don’t really like to talk to strangers. Even I myself don’t usually break the silence with strangers.
I was so grateful that I got the chance to study various types of lectures and workshop. Especially, during the workshop of Intercultural Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, I started to define myself whether I am a direct person or an indirect person. It was kind of confusing for me. Anyway, I think that the workshop was essential for my social life, although it is far different from my major.
In the evening, as the Food Zoo was closed for a whole day, after today’s lectures, some of my friends and I went to a Vietnamese restaurant, which was not really far from the campus. The noodle there was so delicious. Plus, the seller said that we did not have to pay for tips, which is really great for me. Then, we were heading downtown to have some fun for the first Friday. Unfortunately, we were late for that event and everybody there went back home. So, we returned to the campus. But finally! Luffi, David, Khuong, Alex, my mentor Khavi and I decided to do something fun instead of going back to Pantzer Hall and sleep. We went down the Clark Fork River. We were swimming, seeing the sunset and chilling along the river. It was fun. It was my very time, spending time down the river like that. I really love it. Montana is amazing!!!