YES Programs



Rodeo Teaches Filippino YES Student American Values

Pendleton Rustudents Small Web

Last weekend, YES Exchange Student Abdulrauf visited Pendleton, Oregon to attend one of the ten biggest rodeos in the world. This Filipino high schooler, who is spending the next year living and studying here in the United States through a program sponsored by the US Department of State, got a major taste of Americana and American values at this event, which he attended with other AFS Exchange Students and Volunteers. Here is his take on the famous Pendleton Round-Up.

The Pendleton Round-Up

by Abdulrauf, AFS Exchange Student and Kennedy-Lugar YES Scholar

Philippines to Oregon, 2011-12</p>

“Let’er buck!” I don’t even know “What does that mean?” when I first hear it. But then they tell us. It’s usually used by all the cowboys and even cowgirls.

That was the first time I saw Rodeo, the first time I heard LET’ER BUCK!, the first time I really felt the spirit of America!

Speaking of the cowboys and the cowgirls, one main reason why I really enjoyed this Round Up was because of them. They made our tiring day of 4-hour travel so awesome. In fact, right after we came from the church where we stayed, we straightly went to Round Up stadium and waited for its opening ceremony. The show was really worth it. I really loved it and enjoyed it, especially the portion showing how you can manage or control your balance when the hard music is playing and the horse with a man on its back is swinging up and down trying to make the man fall down.

This scene made this event so cool. This was also one thing that I learned about American Culture. The Courage and Determination are really American behavior. And this is also one thing that I can apply during my stay here in the US. I believe that if I don’t have these two behaviors, I cannot really succeed here. One thing I also learned here is Patience. As you can see, it’s really obvious that the rider has to be patient to keep holding-on. And this is what I shall also have to do while I am here at the United States.

After the Rodeo, we went to have an early free dinner at the Safeway. By this time, I really tasted what American foods are. It was so strange for me at first but as they say, there’s no harm in trying, so I tried and it’s worth it. DELICIOUS American foods. Especially the pancakes. After that, we were given a free time to walk and go anywhere in that area. Pendleton is so nice.

Next was the show at the Happy Canyon. This show was actually about the War between Americans and Indians. This show had really elaborated so well the story on how things happened in a clear way but added some hilarious acts that made the viewers more interested to watch. The day became so long that we all felt so tired. But there was one thing left at midnight and that was the Teen Dance with pure Americans. We all enjoyed it. What we did was DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE and DANCE!

The morning after that, we had a free breakfast. That was when I really liked the pancakes. I’ve tasted pancakes before but this is different. I mean it’s really American food. WOW! GREAT!

And then the last part in our Pendleton trip was the PARADE! We watched it until it was over and it was great. FABULOUS! FANTASTIC! WONDERFUL! AMAZING! MARVELOUS! GORGEOUS! And everything!

But, as we were arriving to Portland, we had a stop over at the Multnomah Falls, which was so great! I shall say that this trip is one of my most MEMORABLE moments here in the USA. I am so thankful to AFS and to God as well that I have this opportunity. WOW!

Another Student's Take on the Round-Up

Esinam from Ghana:

"I am very pleased that I went for the Pendleton Round-Up. It was fascinating to watch how cowboys and girls presented the awesome cultures of the farm world (tending bulls and horses), native America and America in the old times. It was amazing to see how these horse riders played around with their horses and the fear that gripped me at the start of the show. It was my first time experiencing an event of this sort and it broadened my view of the United States as a homeland of diversity. The greatest thing I learned from this trip was how the people who came for the rodeo made it look like a big family reunion and a platform to share their views on the beautiful heritage of Native America."