A letter from a student

First of all, I just want to thank OWN for the opportunities. I want to thank you for these last two years for making it fun, enjoyable, and memorable. I have learned a lot and I will forever treasure them.

Sadly last summer was my last with you, but I hope in the future I can still be part of this great organization filled with opportunities for student like me to see the world.

Joining OWN was the best thing I have ever done. It changed me from being a quiet, awkward, loner kid into a confident one with knowledge of how big the world is. My whole life I looked for a place for me to belong to. I searched and searched. I joined clubs and other organizations but I still felt that I was an outcast. I was too quiet to talk, to make friends, or even too awkward to look at anyone. I was such a loner. But when I joined OWN, the leadership class helped me build my confidence slowly. I started making friends. I had people to talk to and I wasn’t even scared to talk. I thought it couldn’t get any better. Then I was sent to Concordia Language Villages and Morocco. Being in these trips was such a life-changing experience. I have never imagined that I would go so far. I have made a lot of friends and gained knowledge not only in social justice and lessons of the real world, but also the language which help me a lot. I hope many more students will have the same opportunities that I had.

Going in this trip to Morocco was the best thing that have ever happened to me.  I got to live with such a kind family with such a great homestay “brother” (Kerk). Kerk was such a great guy. We have so much in common that it scared me. I also had my six other new friends from Seattle to brighten the day more. I also had great teachers, Rachid and Mohammed, who were always there if I needed any help. I want to thank all of you for giving me the best summer of my life. No, I want to thank you for giving the best two years of my life and I will forever treasure all the opportunities that were given to me.

Even though it was hot in the first few days, the Morocco trip was fun. I got to take a lot of pictures with everyone. We went bowling, shopped at the mall, and ate at an AMERICAN restaurant.  We also visited many beautiful masjids (mosques). When it got colder, I got to enjoy the trip more. The food was amazing. I learned to cook a few dishes and how to make tea. Going to the souks in the Medina was crazy and fun, and the Fez trip was also great. We visited many historical places and Rachid’s home.

Being in Morocco made me want to study Arabic more and meeting people there made me realize that languages can break a barrier that separates people from their differences. Speaking their language even with bad grammar can make them happy. It reminded me of when I was still in the Philippines. It felt like home. The hospitality was even better than Hawaii’s. Homeowners would invite you in and won’t let you out until you’ve eaten. I am very glad to have been chosen to go. I can’t even show my appreciation through this email. I had soo much fun that it makes me want to visit again in the future.

Once again, thank you.