In the words of Ammar Mohammed, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Yemen:
A gorgeous sunrise in Portland awakens the Millennials to embark on our train journey. I was ready and excited to get on the train. I have been daydreaming about this day for the past two weeks.
This whole journey was beyond my expectations. I never dreamed about traveling so far by train. The breathtaking scenes to Seattle, on the first leg of our journey, were just mesmerizing. The Millennials aboard are also a unique aspect of the train. Everyone is so invested in their projects and I am grateful to be a part of such a rich and diverse leaning environment. During the social hours, I engage in discussions with the American participants and my Fulbright counterparts. We speak about being pioneers and leaders and how diversified the meanings of those terms are; culturally and personally.
Ammar met with Portland’s On-The-Move Community Integration organization, which helps integrate developmentally and intellectually disabled individuals into the local community.
Prior to embarking by train, I visited the On-The-Move Community Integration group in Portland. I was stunned by the great effort the volunteers and participants are doing to integrate into the society. This organization, which works with the developmentally and intellectually disabled, has taken integration one step further. Instead of inviting the community to the organization, they go out to meet with the community and participate in outdoor activities.
August 6, 2014: “Whirlwind Arrival”
The adventure started in Portland! Everybody who’s been to Portland International Airport would immediately recognize this carpet, which is famous!
Katie Nikolaeva landed in Portland on August, 6,2014.
My favorite place in Portland became (guess what) Union Station! We basically lived there for the first two days waiting for the train and exploring the city along the way.
Portland is considered the most “hipster” city in the U.S., and you can feel it just walking on the streets.
Katie visited Powell’s Books in Portland.
The first ‘hipster’ place I visited was Powell’s Books, which can be best described as a city of books. You can spend hours and hours there looking through thousands (probably millions!) of different books — from technical to art literature sitting on one shelf.
Portland is also often called Rose City, because people say that the climate there is perfect for growing roses, and you can see it in almost every element of architecture.
After all the MTP project participants gathered at the hub we headed to Mark Zusman’s home for dinner. Zusman is the editor of the alternative newspaper Willamette Week. We had an first amazing dinner and equally amazing speakers — young entrepreneurs who were presenting their small businesses (right to my topic!). Among others, we learned about Britt Howard’s creative fashion enterprise ‘Portland Garment Factory’, which was started as a sewing shop and developed into the fashion house, the last project of which was the uniform for flight attendants of Michael Jordan’s private jet!
Members of the 2014 Fulbright-Millennial Train group at the top of Oregon Health & Science University’s Portland Aerial Tram with Portland’s First Lady, Nancy Hales (left)
Our Fulbright-MTP participants made it safely to Portland for today’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey. They depart at 4:00 p.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. EDT) today and head first to Seattle, WA. Here, Fulbright Student from Indonesia, Alyas Widita, talks about arriving in Portland.
It felt like the flight from Minneapolis to Portland was the longest flight I had ever taken. The flight only took about three and a half hours, but the excitement of participating in this year’s Fulbright-Millennial Trains Project (MTP) made me impatient to arrive in Portland and meet with my MTP colleagues. Additionally, the fact that I sat in an aisle seat prevented me from being able to see the amazing American landscape down below, and also contributed to the feeling that the flight was longer than it actually was.
By the time I stepped off the plane and arrived at the terminal, bathed in light, I rushed to find the Flying Elephants deli, where Lindsay Patross (one of the MTP social media staff members) and Chris Dowd (brother of MTP founder Patrick Dowd) were waiting for the Fulbright-MTP participants to arrive. I was relieved to spot an MTP banner and the Flying Elephants deli easily and had a short chat with Lindsay and Chris, who guided me on how to get to Union Station via streetcar/tram. The journey to Portland’s city center allows tram passengers to witness a glimpse of the city’s natural beauty, and many of its enormous bridges and buildings.
Following Chris’ suggestion, I took the Red Line tram and stopped at the Old Town/Chinatown Station, where I had to walk approximately five blocks to reach Union Station. As I walked from the tram, I began to understand why Portland is often referred to as an example of excellent urban planning. The city planners have put much effort into ensuring that the streets, an element of the city that is continuously reiterated as the biggest public space, foster human interaction.
As our Fulbright-MTP participants make their way to Portland for tomorrow’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey, they reflect on their Fulbright experience thus far, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing global Millennials today and how their Fulbright-MTP project is a vehicle for enhancing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
In the words of Anser Shaukat, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan:
It’s been two years since that bright eyed lad stepped out of Logan, on what he would later learn, is considered a particularly bright and beautiful day in New England.
As I sit now preparing for my upcoming journey in the Millennial Trains Project, excited about discovering the varying cultural landscapes of the U.S, I can’t help but think about that boy and my first experience in the landscape of Boston.
Anser Shaukat is a current Fulbright Foreign Student from Pakistan.
My plan was to take the bus-tram hybrid, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Silver Line to South Station and from there transfer to the bus to New Bedford, my final destination. I thought I had done my research, looked up the times and the routes, but I was in no way prepared to handle the unique challenges offered by a new city. I huffed and puffed my three pieces of brand new luggage on the Silver Line, which right up until that moment were my trophies of readiness; Two years of life in the land of the free, packed in two pieces of checked baggage and one hand carry. A hundred and thirty pounds; barely under the weight limit. The inevitability of the situation makes me laugh at that boy and the pride he had in those bags. He had felt ready then, prepared to take on the new world and his new life.