As an international cadet from the Philippines, it is very hard for me to go home and see my family. I only get to see them once a year. It can be difficult at times because I tend to miss them a lot and I miss a ton of events such as my uncle’s wedding, my mom’s birthday, and my dad’s birthday. Sometimes, I feel like I am alone and have no family. Although I have lots of friends in the Academy and lots of people who look after me such as my company officers, company chiefs, professors, and upperclassmen, I still long for the day where I can just go home, sit back, hug my parents, and just have a break from all the rigors of the Academy. Unfortunately, this scenario is no longer possible because I am 8,000 miles away from them and my home.
The closest thing that gives me that break and that refreshment is going to visit my sponsor family. I am thankful for this program at the Coast Guard Academy has because without it, I do not know if I would have survived the first semester of 4th class year. My sponsor families were my driving force and my inspiration every time I feel like giving up. Yes, I have a country to represent and my family back home as my main source of strength but my sponsor families gives me that hope and rekindles my fire inside every single week. Every message they send and encouraging moments we spend together helps me feel like I can take on the world and I can take on every challenge that the Academy gives me. They truly made my transition to the military community better and one that is unforgettable. They made my life in the Academy very rewarding and very fulfilling.
Each of my sponsor families is unique and I am thankful for them. My first sponsor family who was selected for me by the Academy is very accommodating and very loving. It almost feels like they are my real parents. They also have a son who is an officer in the Coast Guard so they also feel like I am their son. Aside from all the support and the help they provide, one thing I love the most is how great the food is in their house. Every single meal they cook for me is like a taste of heaven, the sea and its lore. They owned a restaurant before so this is why they are really good at their craft. Moreover, it was one of the best in Connecticut so they really make delicious meals. To add to that, they made me one of the most scrumptious lobster bisque I have ever tasted in my life. My second sponsor family has a Filipino background and thus I love spending time with their family because they give me a sense of my country and a feeling of familiarity with my culture and my nationality. They also cook the best Filipino meals and they provide me encouragement that I cannot get from anyone else. It feels very special when I hear it in my own native language and the comfort of their household just makes me feel refreshed and renewed. My third sponsor family is a family that has both a Filipino heritage and a military background. They work in the U.S. Navy and are currently stationed in the Naval Sub Base. They are a young couple so it is very easy to relate with them, joke around, and laugh with. They are very adventurous so they have toured me around from Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, and Boston. Just like my other sponsor families, they cook good Filipino food and they give me a boost and renewed mindset.
By signing up for the program, I wanted to surround myself with good people who want me to succeed and this is what a got. These people have always made me feel special every time I am with them. I am thankful that I am just in my first year in the Academy because I still have a lot of time with them and a lot of adventures to go on with them. I appreciate that they accepted a young cadet like me and I will always have a grateful for their generosity and willingness to help me with my 200-week-long journey. I am glad that the Academy values strong familial bonds. These relationships not only last for my stay here in New London but also for a lifetime after I go back to my home country.
Thank you for your time,
Go Sponsorship Program
And Go Bears!
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