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Joan Hanawi

From Indonesia and Huntington Beach, California, Joan is the Editor-in-Chief of her yearbook, a pianist for the Academy for the Performing Arts, and the Secretary General of her Model United Nations program, a position that allows her to shine as a leader while using skills in writing, speaking, and researching. Joan also works as a Youth Worship and Ministry leader at Hope Chapel Huntington Beach, and volunteers as a candy striper at Hoag Hospital.


Returning Home

June 23, 2012

The expressions of utter shock and surprise mirrored my own smiling face as I laughed at the absurdity of it all. An Indonesian girl living in Huntington Beach, California speaking Ecuadorian Spanish. But that’s what happens when you become a Global Citizen Year Fellow. If I could choose one word to describe Global Citizen Year...

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Corridors of Connectivity

March 28, 2012

Scribbling away furiously, I was doing everything that I had learned not to do in school. I was attempting to copy down every single word my boss said, trying to notate what he was saying without truly processing. However, the sudden silence made me pause. “You know what an eco-corridor is, right?” Sheepishly, I shook...

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Find Your Tribe

February 3, 2012

No matter who you are or where you come from, you are always trying to Find Your Tribe, to find family in any corner of the world. The link above is my attempt to share a little taste of the Ecualife I’ve found here in the Amazon since I arrived in Ecuador…hope you enjoy it as much...

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Why I Still Believe

January 31, 2012

Although Global Citizen Year is a non-denominational organization, we all come from different places, different backgrounds, different beliefs. Which is exactly why his words echoed in my mind that night as I tried to determine if I had heard, let alone understood, correctly. “You have no idea, but you came at exactly the right moment. I...

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Boats, and Bulls, and Bravery! Oh, my!

December 9, 2011

Las Fiestas de Tena. The Parties of Tena. Dangerous words in any language. One thing that I’ve learned very quickly here is that Ecuadorians are very proud to be Ecuadorian. They love finding reasons to celebrate their vibrant nation, and one of the ways this is done is through the Fiestas. Each province or capital...

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Home for the Holidays

December 7, 2011

The other day I was sitting in my family’s tienda (a little corner store that sells food and random necessities like shampoo) eating pancakes and eggs that I had cooked with Mamita and Vecina (the family friend that lives with us – “vecina” means neighbor). I like to cook for my Mamita, especially when she’s...

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The Calm During the Storm

November 15, 2011

I don’t think I fully understood the definition of the word “rainforest” until I moved here. I’ve quickly learned that the rainforest is aptly named because it does, in fact, rain every day. As a Southern California native, my idea of rain is a ten minute drizzle storm that stops traffic and makes the top...

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The Power of Tamia

November 8, 2011

Wilma is the oldest of my eight siblings, and has been a hard worker her entire life. When she was younger, she was an excellent student, a fast learner, and a dedicated scholar, but her gender constantly held her back. When she wanted to move on to study biochemistry after high school, her father told...

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You Do the Math

September 29, 2011

I remember back in April, when I was first accepted into this program, dreaming of this part of the journey. The time when I’d have my final first. My last first day. The end of initial newness, unfamiliar introductions, constant irregularity—in a word, the end of discomfort. What I found instead was the hardest first...

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A Gift from God

September 7, 2011

It’s funny how quickly things can change—emotions, feelings, attitudes—it’s all fleeting. Like someone pulled the rug out from beneath your feet, but you’re caught in the space between falling helplessly and steadily keeping your balance. You’re caught in limbo. But I guess what I’m learning is that we’re always caught in a state of limbo....

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August 22, 2011

It’s craziness. It really is. 57 like-minded youth from all over the United States—flying, driving, doing whatever it takes to congregate in one singular place. 57 young adults who have all been consumed by the same passion—to tap into innate potential by willingly embracing a cross-cultural immersion. 57 students attempting to break societal restrictions and...

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Learning to Let Go

July 5, 2011

I have been very late with uploading blogs so I want to firstly apologize to those who have been waiting for an update from me. So much has happened between August and now that I myself do know how to decipher the different, completely opposite , emotions that sometimes intertwine at the same moment. I...

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