2016 Global Citizen and Summit Intern
2017 Activity Leader, EF Long Beach
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the world beyond my hometown. As a small child, I would spend hours spinning my globe and seeing where my finger landed. Gazing at the pages of books about children from other countries. Devouring every bit of news about my planet that I could get my hands on. I longed for a chance to go to the places on my globe, meet the people from my book, and tackle the problems from the news. When I received an email inviting me to be a Global Citizen with EF, I realized that this would be my chance to finally escape the confines of my community. This would be my chance to change the world.
As I walked the ancient streets of Prague, marveled at the historic sites of Berlin, and rode along the canals of Amsterdam, I gained a taste of the worldliness that I craved. In The Hague, that feeling overtook me. I was in the city that dozens of international organizations called home. Walking streets dotted by embassies and unpronounceable restaurants. Joining teens from around the globe to discuss human rights. Ironically, I felt most at home in a city that belonged to no one group, in a town with hundreds of languages, in a building covered in flags from around the world.
The defining moment of my EF experience occurred at the 2016 Global Student Leaders Summit. I was tasked with speaking to my peers from around the world. I took the stage and spoke about my work fighting for the human rights of people with disabilities through a nonprofit that I founded in my community. As I shared my story, the 1,500 students from six continents all became a part of my narrative. My desire to explore the world around me culminated in a moment of reflection on my work in my own community. My international aspirations had led me back home.
The global mindset that I began cultivating as a child has become an inseparable part of my existence. However, EF taught me that I need to begin my global mission by improving my own environment. Saving the world is not something that I can do on my own. But, by focusing on my community, I hope I can form that vital link that will allow my change to reach wherever my finger lands on the globe next.
Here is an article I wrote as an intern at the Summit discussing my learnings.
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