My Month Experience in America
When my stay in America comes to an end and I reflect on this month’s experience, I’d like to say: “I came, I saw, and I enjoyed,” no matter if at work, home, or during my trips. My name is Shu Yu Xu and my English name is Max. I am a student at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
“Work comes first,” so this is my first topic. Working as a volunteer for Asperger Works was both wonderful and educational. We are a small institution, so volunteers have to find out what they can do instead of being told what to do, which means we have freedom and a chance to discover ourselves. I chose to work on social media, to let more people know us and contact us. But to be honest, my favorite part of the workday was the lunch break when we went downstairs and took a table. I could listen to Eva, sometimes Daniel, talk. I like to listen (I like talk, too), as it’s my way of knowing a person, and I found it great fun. I like my co-workers as well, Matthew and YuYang. It’s a pity that I cannot work for a longer time.
When I asked myself: have you done anything that really matters for Asperger Works? I realized the honest answer is “No.” Promoting on social media turned out to be really hard. It’s not like promoting an event on campus, but promoting ourselves to Lawrence, to Massachusetts, even to America. What’s more, I had more and more doubt about whether we were on the right track. As time passed, I had more and more questions: what on earth is Asperger Syndrome, how many people exactly know what that means, etc. If people have no idea what AS is, how can they understand us, let alone support us? Then I wanted to do a survey on people’s attitude towards AS, and more problems—which platform should I put this survey on? How can I put it on? That was when I realized there was so much I needed to learn. Daniel knows computers, Eva knows coding, and I cannot even make a webpage on my own. Finally, Eva put it on our website and made it both informative and educational. I was awed, and I knew I had a long way to go.
A month ago, I had no idea what Asperger Syndrome was. Now I know that people with Asperger Syndrome are citizens like you and me, except that they are a little different from the so-called “normal” people. They have average or even higher IQ, cognitive skills, learning abilities, and other functions than “normal” people have. They just don’t get social hints, some are obsessed with a certain topic, etc. Things vary, because every one of them is unique. Among them there are very nice and capable people. I hope I can help these people, help Asperger Works and I will. We are still an institution at our starting period and desperately need more volunteers and funds. Eva contacted several high schools and other organizations, because we need long-term volunteers and stable cooperation with other organizations, which will also bring us more funds. As a Chinese Volunteer, perhaps dealing with local people isn’t my field. I will try to contact more college students. I believe there is a large group of students with AS in universities in Boston, and maybe we can help them or they can help us.
During my stay, my hostess Nora gave me a lot of support. So did Eva and Adam; they are like family members to me. It was like I had a home in America.
I also had the opportunity to travel the northeastern coast of America on weekends.
As Steve Jobs once said: Don’t be sad because it’s over; smile because it happened. These memories will stay with me. I’ll stay in contact and help people with Asperger Syndrome in China.