I’m finally home – here in south Florida. It feels amazing to be back. It’s actually a funny feeling. I feel as if I had never left in the first place… Everything (luckily for me) remains in the same old ways that I’m used to. Now, reflecting on this past semester, what I can say is that it was probably one of the best times I had in my life. I feel like I learned so much. The places I’ve seen and the people I’ve met… I feel like I am a completely different person. I feel capable of doing so many things that before they seemed rather far-fetched from the reality of the person I used to be.
I say that for a few reasons. Growing up in a Latin household, you learn really quickly to become very attached to your family. In Brazil, for instance, kids are only expected to leave their parents house when they get married – and that’s what I had in mind for my own life. And as much as I have always loved the convenience of it, I felt like that was the reason why, in many situations, this kept me from taking opportunities or chances because I was afraid of being “on my own” for a long time. But I knew I had to overcome this fear at some point, or else I wouldn’t be leading the kind of life I wanted to live.
This exchange program was the first step towards becoming the independent young woman I wanted to be. Certainly, I felt quite lost in my first days in France. I had a cultural shock in the first few weeks. At some moments, I questioned why I was doing this. It was hard to adapt in the beginning. But I try to focus on the positive side only – that’s why I don’t think I shared negative thoughts of my time in France in here. Well, there weren’t many bad things anyway, but in either case, I prefer to stick to the good points. The bottom line is that getting out of your conform zone is not easy at all, but it feels SO good in the end when you realize the things you can do. I don’t know how else to explain – but today I feel fearless about anything. Taking a job in Singapore tomorrow? Sounds good. Perhaps an internship in Laos? Count me in. Volunteering in Bangladesh? That would be cool, too. I just feel like nothing scares me anymore, and while I may still feel hesitations, I would follow through with my initial plans for anything. It’s a freeing type of mindset that I really enjoy having.
As for my time in the US now, I will be interning with an organization I really admire in Washington D.C. in a couple of weeks for the entire summer. I’m beyond thrilled to start! I can’t believe everything I planned out for 2016 is happening. Hard work, resilience, AND persistence pay off. There’s no shortcut when it comes to suceeding in achieving your goals ☺