Sitting in front of the T.V. screen screaming for his favorite team, the Boston Celtics, Australian Benjamin Cain has always been drawn to American sports. Later in his life, Cain would receive an opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to visit America through an exchange program. He decided to take this opportunity and embarked on a 30-day journey of new experiences throughout the United States.
Cain says he is very “fortunate” that he was able to not only expand his American “lingo,” but also travel from “sea to shining sea.” He ended his 30-day tour here in the sunny sector of Orange County and attended several days of school at Orange Lutheran.
As a graduating senior, Cain wanted to have concrete experience with the inhabitants of the United States and he utilized his 30-day venture to truly understand the country that brought him “High School Musical” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” His love for the Boston Celtics and the NBA was a catalyst to his journey, driving him to heighten his love for sports all while building a friendship with the students of Orange County, something Cain says he “didn’t quite expect.”
This new experience was completely different from his life in his Australian town. One thing that shocked Caine about California was that “Californians aren’t like the people in the movies.” He also now understands the extensity of Los Angeles traffic because in “Queensland, Australia, where I’m from, you don’t get 6 lane traffic; you might see four-lane traffic. Tops.”
American stereotypes run rampant in Australia; Cain explained that coming here was “confusing because my assumption was that everyone [in America] carried guns around. I also believed that most people in California were gangsters, but that assumption was quickly turned around.” During his trip, Cain realized that “Americans are normal people, but it’s hard to keep up with the slang in different states.”
Though his adventure came to a close, it is clear that Cain loves his “American brothers.” With gratitude, he appreciates how “[Americans] have been feeling for the last 100 years about us Aussies.” When he traveled back to Queensland, he wanted the people of Orange County to know that “Australians will continue to remain your good mates because you’re our older brother and we’d like for that to continue.”
Cain was inspired by his favorite NBA team to travel to America, but he left transformed. Transformed by Orange County’s kindness which transcends all continental barriers and biases. Cain, now moved by the kindness he received from Americans, understands “the humanity of all people,” from American NBA stars, Australians, and the people of Orange County in clear detail.
Photo Credits: Jolaya Gillams