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July 22 – Anh

Compare to other days in our busy schedule, July 22 is an easy and relaxing day. But, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to remember.

When I look on the schedule, I feel so happy that there is just one class today. And then, immediately, I am worried as it lasts 3 hours (maybe one of the longest classes). I have been afraid that I will fall asleep in class. Luckily, I enjoy the class today with UM Climate Action Now (UMCAN) so much.

Maybe because the speakers today are also students. Maybe because what they say is exactly what I did, do and will do.
“Telling stories” which is full of emotions, personal experiences and inspirations, instead of a bunch of data and information.
Zack and Hank from UMCAN give us some stories. They are very simple, but sincere and very real. I think I can see myself in those stories.

Then, we also have chance to divide into group and share our stories together.
Mei, Boom, Rosie and me go to 1 group.
We tell each other the story about why we concern in environmental issues. Mei and her hometown, Boom and some horrible disasters in Thailand, Rosie and her debating class and also the story about “How a Zero become a Hero” of me. So many things to share that we become the last group come back to the room.

We also learn a lot of interesting things and I believe that what we hear today will be very very useful for our project when we come back to our country.

After the class, we have a meeting with Dr.Len and Mel about the project of national group.
Just my personal feeling that this time is more comfortable and less stressful than other meeting. Maybe because, our team have had a good prepare and we worked very hard for the draft proposal. Dr.Len gives us some comments and contributes ideas which are so precious for us.
The more I work with our teammate, the higher team spirit I can feel 🙂
We will be a great team and we have a project ahead.

Thank to Mel, after group meeting, we have chance to enjoy the lunch with Dr. Dan, who will go to Vietnam this winter.
Food Zoo is closed at that time so we go to University Center instead where all members of Vietnam team orders ‘Pho’.
It’s such a long time that we don’t enjoy ‘Pho’. We miss it so much. (But we think that ‘Pho’ in University Center is quite salty)

The final highlight of today is the exchange traditional dress between Laos and Vietnam Ladies.
This is the first time I try traditional dress of Laos. I have an exchange with Seata. Unfortunately (or so lucky), that Seata’s dress fit me so well as Seata cannot breath in my Ao dai (traditional dress of Vietnam).
It’s so funny when we wear dress, walk around, give each other feedbacks, show them how to pose in dress. Just as fun as going shopping.

I, myself, realize that I wear Laos traditional dress more beautiful than Ao dai (why?)

I also realize that exploring culture is so interesting, and it is also the reason why we are here today.
I will try to explore more (try more traditional dress from other countries) in next days!

Goodnight, SUSI !
— Mai Anh Dang.
International Business
Foreign Trade University – HCMC

July 21- Mei


Today was a free day for all of us to explore Missoula. We had fun and were very tired at the same time. It could be said that today was the most tired day for us.


I got up a little late today at around 9:30 am. After I did all my stuff, I met my friends at the lounge to discuss about the plan today. Again, Thai-Lao gang gathered and discussed where to go. Before we get down to our plan, we had lunch together at the lounge. Our meal was the meal left over from yesterday’s potluck dinner at Deena’s house. The taste of food was still very good.


Our first point was downtown Missoula. We biked to the downtown and parked our bicycles under the bridge then walked around. We first visited the Art shop and bought some things as souvenirs for our families and friends. All the products in the shop are made in Missoula and some of them are handmade, everything is very unique and creative. I just want to buy all of them, but it’s impossible. Finally, I bought some book marks for my dad and my sister’s boyfriends because they love reading and the book mark is very unique in tribal styles (Native American Style). Then we passed through some shops and stopped for a break at a good coffee shop called “Liquid Planet” where we had some drinks and bought a lot of local chocolates with a reasonable price. After that, we headed to Costco where is very far away. We biked and biked and biked, finally got there. We know that we must have a member card for shopping in the Costco, but we don’t. So how we did it, it was a little funny. We were stuck in the entry and the woman who is responsible for checking the member card of customers before entering asked about our member card and we discussed a little bit how to say. We then figured out to say that we have a friend who has the card and we call him to come help us, but we requested to shop before his arrival. Actually he didn’t even pick up the phone and didn’t come. But we were still in risky situation to shop and ask someone for the member card and it’s alright to borrow others’ card if they willing to. Costco is really a big mall with a lot of things and the prices are very reasonable. As we all love shopping, how we can miss it!  Our first target was the pharmacy zone. Everyone got a lot of supplements, chocolates, candies and so on. At the moment when we nearly have done shopping, we decided to ask someone’s help since we need a member card for payment. I accidently saw a Chinese couple and went talk to them, asked them if they can help us. You know what they said? They said that they don’t have the card too and were waiting for their friend who has the member card to pick them up. They could help us but we have to wait for their friend for 20 minutes. However, we couldn’t wait that much long so we tried the others. Luckily, a woman who was very kind helped us for that. We then organized our stuff and biked back to our dorm. It was such a long way for us to come back. We biked under the sun, everyone was so tired. After the long trip, we finally reached our dorm. Our feeling in that moment was like seeing the hope and it was like “Oh finally we arrived!” Took off our stuff and parked our bicycles and laid down on the yard for a while. It was so good! Then we had dinner together, our meal was the same as lunch. Because of tiredness we ate a lot and the food was very good too. It wasn’t the end of our day. We had another plan which was the last point for today, we are going to the theatre. After taking a break in the dorm, Seata, Aling, KT, Andrew, Boom and me biked again to the theatre where is near the Southgate Mall, It was pretty far away from the dorm. But we still wanted to go due to our last week in Missoula, so we have to go. I was so tired to bike since we biked all day long and my legs were pain. The movie we watched was the last round for the day called “Despicable me 2”. It was cartoon animation and so cute and funny. I love it. The movie ended at around 12:00 pm, it was midnight already. We biked back to our dorm, the weather at night was cooler.


It was the most tired day for me today and this is my first time to bike for a whole day. But it made my day, I enjoyed biking. I don’t realized that it’s already our last week in Missoula. I don’t want to leave yet. I still want to explore more. Missoula is a good place for relax and I found that I fall in love with Missoula where the weather is very hot and dry but I don’t even feel uncomfortable, where the people are so kind and friendly, where there are a lot of awesome outdoor activities. It seems like I started to get use to everything here no matter in different time, food and life style. Meanwhile, it is nearly the time to say good bye to this beautiful and natural city. Thank you SUSI program for giving me a new and awesome experience I ever had. I enjoyed so much here. It will be the best and unforgettable experience for me. I will miss you Montana.






July 20 Jennifer’s Blog

This was a sunny morning, I woke up late after a long sleep. As a habit, I looked out of the window and saw the smooth green grass, I could feel the freshness in there with the sun lights. I had a flashback of days that I have stayed here in UM. Time has passed so quickly. We only had 2 weeks more to enjoy the activities together. It is not too long, but it is enough to make us to be more and more closed.

Today, we were divided by country group to prepare a few dishes from our country to share with everyone at dinner. Actually, because I live with my family and I am the oldest sister, I have to cook everyday for them. Otherwide, I love cooking so much. That’s why I choose this day to write the blog. It will be so fun and significant.

We left the dorm at 9 am and followed Mrs. Deena to go to the Clark Fork market by bike. The market is near our university and takes only 10 minutes to go there. It is about over 9 years old. It is new one but larger than the market where I went with my host family. It also has more food stores and many kinds of flowers with We walked around to buy something for dinner and also ate breatfast. We looked like the children in a family who had to do everything because their parents were so busy with their works. Fornaturely, when we were walking around, I saw that a store sold lavender – this is my favorous flower. It was immediately attracted me and I kept walking back and forth in front of this store. I know that it is dificult to bring this to my country but I really want to try one. Finally, I bought a bouquet of dry lavender. Its flavor is so sweet.

We were done after 2 hours shopping and come back to the packing to wait for other groups. We were all there and meet Mr. Franco Salazar – the market manager. He explained more about this market. I can compare the different between Vietnam and US. In my country, the people go to the market every day and they cook for each meal. But American prefers to buy food in the grocery store. So, the farmers’ market is very important to keep the relationship between the citizen and farmers there. Later, we came back to Miller Hall to have lunch and take a nap. In this afternoon, someone go to grocery store, someone go to the Dr. Len’s house and the rest goes to the Mrs. Deena to prepare for cooking.

When we cooked together, it was really fun. I could see many people happy to try and cook it very well event they know how to cook or not. All of us were very hard – working to make the dishes not only delicious but also beautiful. It took about 4 hours for cooking.

Finally, all of the traditional dishes were finished. Each country introduced and explained about their dishes. Burma group was the fastest team with many kinds meat, it looked so delicious while Lao’s food is the spiciest but the flavor was so good, specially was the “Lucky” food. I also liked the dish which mixes many kinds of vegetable of Cambodia. The hardest – working – Thailand group – they cooked many dishes and I love the rice inside the pineapple because it looked so nice. J These dishes were laid all on the table with delicious flavors. We were so hungry and could not wait any more. The party was start!!!!

Spring Roll North and South Version – along with stories about the differences in taste, eating style has impressed. They ate and compared which one is better, but almost the answer was the both usually. We also ate ice cream and taught Lao and Thai people some Vietnamese words.

Potluck dinner tonight was the biggest and the best meal ever!!! Everyone felt full event they could eat more. We chatted, played soccer together and then, we came back to the Miller Hall at 9:15 pm.

Now, when I am sitting here – in my room and write this blog. I am still full and my body still has smell of spring roll event I took a shower already. It is so fun! J

Anyway, today is unforgettable!!!

July 19th- Somlith

What a great day!

For me, traveling to new places, meeting with more people, and sharing experiences, and work in a team are what I enjoy doing in my whole life.  I have spent time with all my SUSI participants in Missoula for nineteen days. I have discovered many things that are wonderful here.  Today is the great day that I have been looking for since I applied for this program.

A lecture day might be a boring day for most people because of feeling asleep, but for me it is a great day because we have a good topic that we talked about this afternoon. I am so glad that Dr. Roy taught me and other students on how to build a good organization. He showed us what he was doing in his organization. E.g He focused on motivating students by bringing them out to see other places such as a place with animal spices in danger like sea tortoise. This really surprised me that he and I have something in common in helping others to have a chance for educational access as I we do.

After break from lunch at 1: 30 pm, we had another great lecture about Cross Cultural Negotiation with leadership activity by Dr. Koester. I have learnt a lot from this lecture and activity. For example, we played a $2 game. This game gave me an ideas how to deal with other people from different places and cultures. At the first round of the game, I found that it is hard to talk and deal something with stranger, but on the second and the third round, I found that I could talk and reach the agreement faster and could come to solution easily because we knew one’s another story well. The most important thing that I learnt from this game is that I should never give up with something that I fail. I should keep trying in many different ways until I reach my point!

Later at about 6 pm, we met some students from UM who are now living in the Flat House. It is amazing for me to see students are trying to create projects like organic farm and built a house that are not so harmful for the environment and I have never seen that any students using the solar power until now. I think if more and more people are trying to like this, we might be able to reduce global warming in the future. Just one more thing, I really love American pizza and this is not my first time to eat American pizza and I still enjoy it J. Thanks a lot to American students who gave me a lesion this evening and for pizza.