Today marks the first day of my bridge year. A new chapter waits to be written in Ecuador, where I will work and live with the support of an international network of 84 aspiring young leaders in four countries around the world: Brazil, India, Ecuador, and Senegal.
As a global cohort, we have spent the past ten days in the Redwoods and at Stanford University, deepening our understanding of international development and sensitive cultural immersion. Experts of the field, such as Premal Shah, Founder and CEO of Kiva and Joy Sun, Chief Operating Officer at GiveDirectly—not to mention the founder of Global Citizen Year, Abbly Falik herself—generously shared their knowledge and experiences as food for thought and action (or deliberate non-action) while in our respective countries.
Now it’s time to depart ways and being our personal journeys. This year is an opportunity to step back from the accelerated pace of life to which I am accustomed. It is an opportunity to listen and to learn. To practice curiosity before judgment. To broaden perspective. To reassess my values and how I will allow those values to guide my actions in life. And above all, to appreciate life. Thank you to all who have climbed this mountain of eighteen years with me, who have motivated me to forge on and who have encouraged me to rest, who have told me to stop and look out at the valley, and now who have brought me to the cliff, spread my wings, and prepared me to jump. ¡Dios se lo pague!