By Chanty Seng, Cambodia
When I first heard about New York ten years ago, I whispered sadly to myself that I would never be able to travel there specifically because of financial difficulty. New York City has been at the top of my list of places to visit since it is a city of limitless opportunity, tremendous energy, and incredible diversity, yet it is just like an unachievable dream. I was immensely influenced by the song The Empire State of Mind by Alicia Key. I listened to every single word in the lyric and keep telling myself that I will be there one day. I do not know how. I do not know when, but I will be in New York and yes now I am here in New York City.
My first stop on the first day in New York City was at an intergovernmental organization known as The United Nations, the heart of NYC. The UN headquarters tour, which lasted an hour, was the most eye-opening experience ever. I had an opportunity to learn about the background and activities of the UN plus a visit to the famous General Assembly Hall and Security Council Chamber. The tour guide was charming and diplomatic. He was straightforward and concise in his explanation of each stop.
Starting the second walking tour to Brooklyn Bridge, the view of the New York City skyline from Brooklyn was definitely worth checking out. Remarkably, the trip to New York is best remembered for seeing the Statue of Liberty. I went on a ferry ride and hoped it were sunny, so I could see it better. Keeping up our tourist curiosity, we went to Wall Street, Time Square, and the 9/11 Memorial while walking through the rain. I regretted greatly not having been able to get into the Empire State Building and enjoy the view from the 100th floor. The natural history museum and Central Park, though, were spectacular enough to serve as a backup.
The three-day trip to New York City was incredible. I couldn’t have been happier to be in the United States and achieve my life goal. Along with experiencing and learning about American culture and society, I have the chance to see a world in a greater way that is extremely different from my own. ITD team, the SUSI program, and especially both of them deserve a special thank you for this fantastic opportunity. Thanks to Alicia Key for her inspiring melody.
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.