If week 1 is anything to go by (of my cultural exchange trip here in Oregon, USA) then week 2 will be full of enjoyable experiences. Variety is the spice of life and that has been so evident from the activities I have partaken in thus far.
One of the main purposes of this program has been to understand disability rights and pride in the US and more specifically learn about it here in Oregon. The seven UK delegates (including myself) have been to several workshops/meetings to discuss these issues and compare it to disability rights in the UK. We learnt that in this area there is still room for improvements across both sides of the pond.
On the flip side though this trip is about us young leaders from the UK coming to gain a cross-cultural disability and recreational experience. We all have differing disabilities affecting our lives in a variety of ways but there has been no stopping us having great cultural experiences together as one. Oregon, famous for its wonderful woodland regions was the place to be on Tuesday where we all took part in the Outdoor Ropes Challenge, swinging and flying high up through the trees. How they were going to get me up there I never knew but everyone was going to take part, no matter what!
My stay with an American Host Family has been nothing short of amazing, to live in their home for these past few days, it’s been a privilege. Hearing
stories and looking at photo’s about their travels in America, watching deers stroll into their garden it has all be a first hand experience of their culture including sharing my own life and culture with them. After tomorrow’s venture to the Pacific Coast (where the views are going to be spectacular) just 90 minutes west from here in Eugene, it will be time to say goodbye to the family after a free day with them.
That’s not to say there is not more to look forward to though. Next week’s camping at the Silver Falls State Park should be great fun with the whole group uniting as one once again. What I have learnt from this past week is that no matter what your ‘disability‘, where there is a will there is a way. The motto of this program and MIUSA in general is ‘exhaustive inclusivity’.