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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / It feels like home in a foreign land

It feels like home in a foreign land

For almost two weeks now in a foreign country, miles and oceans away from homeland for the YSEALI fellowship program I know most of the fellows in one way or another missed something from our respective homelands.  As we walk and roam around the streets in our host community we have the sense of looking for something that will give us the feeling that we are not actually far from our home. Here are the lists of some things that make me feel I am home even a foreign land.

  1. Helpful, friendly and warm people and neighbors we Filipinos are really hospitable, happy and friendly people these are just one of the reasons why tourist love to visit our country. While I’m in Norfolk Virginia I was able to feel that I am in Philippines with all the nice people that I was able to meet and spent the day with!

    Groupie posed with the nice people from Norfolk City hall and Slover library.


    With Dr. Fred Dobbs from Old Dominion University who happily answered all our questions about ballast water management


    Groupie with Robin who was so welcoming and hospitable to us


    With Sierra who picked us up from the bus station and baked cookies for us! So thoughtful and sweet!


    With our host the Deputy Director of Elizabeth River Project,Mr. Joe Rieger and Ms. Denise Thomsom from Norfolk City hall! We are so thankful for both of them who accepted and say yes to have us! 


  2. Coastal breeze and water everywhereI came from Subic Bay and we have a watershed that we protect and maintain and here I am in a city surrounded by Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay where all of the four cities and non-government organizations work together to clean and manage the bay!

    Elizabeth River


    Virginia Beach facing the Atlantic Ocean



    Chesapeake Bay





  3. Nature loving citizens we love to be with nature and we are with nature despite the fact that we have different skin colors and different weather and environment and it really feels like I am home because I am with nature.

    Flowers are everywhere!



    Planting and conservation activity with Elizabeth River Project staff named KC and Mike.



    Opting to be green and eco-friendly for sustainability with having LEED certified buildings, greenest vessel in the wolrd and having awards for environmental conservation


  4. Diverse colors and kinds of trees and landscapes – we might have different climate (temperate vs tropical) but we have same colors of landscapes, green trees, brown earth and logs! We also have some similar trees like pine trees! Yes we also have pine trees in the Philippines.

    Pines trees



    Trees along the rivers and waterways



    Yellow colored leaves that signals autumn!

  5. History and culture – I grew up near a US Naval Facility then and the Americans took a big part of the Philippine history. It feels like home seeing many things I usually see in our country and read shared past.

    General Douglas MacArthur was one of the famous heroes that we have in our Philippines history and his famous line "I shall return". He lead the US troops and liberated the Philippines from Japanese during the World War II.

Being a YSEALI Professional fellow not just open us to a lot of learning experiences and new discoveries but will also teach us that we are in some way or another share many things and are alike in many ways. Nothing to worry or need not to be afraid to stay away from home and spent weeks in a foreign land with strangers  for  along the way we will see and realize that are not different at all afterall “we share the same sky and look up to the same moon and stars”. WE ARE ONE and together with one goal we can make sustainable societies and help each other to become the best leaders in our country!