I feed off new cultures. I have always been enraptured by the ways people live in other parts of the world. It may seem odd, but when I was little, I begged my parents to send me abroad for the summer. During my travels, I had no homesickness, no separation anxiety, no fear of unfamiliarity—just exhilaration.

Flash-forward. The first note I made on my iPhone was: “Places I will live when I’m older.” Among the long list of cities are São Paulo, Barcelona, Mumbai, Cape Town, Istanbul, and Shanghai. I fully intend to keep this promise of extensive traveling to myself.
Perhaps my fascination with global exploration stems from my multicultural upbringing. I was born and raised in Boston in a Francophone Iranian family. Quite a mix of cultures. At first I was uncertain as to which of these communities I belong. But now, I embrace my membership to all three. I am American, French, and Iranian. In fact, not only do I embrace the fact that I am a synthesis of multiple cultures, but I also cherish it. It has taught me that differences between cultures do not have to be barriers. Instead, one can choose to view those differences as assets from which we can learn and benefit.

It was always part of my strangely detailed ten-year plan to take a gap year and live in a completely new surrounding. Global Citizen Year combined my desires to give back to the community, enhance my leadership skills, and immerse myself in a new language and culture. Thus, I was thrilled to be accepted as a Fellow. I am even more thrilled to begin my Global Citizen Year in Senegal. The anticipation of it all is seriously killing me.

For now, I am visiting my family in Tehran, Iran. From here I’ve been trying to run my Summer Campaign, fulfill my Global Citizen Year tasks, and prepare for the big trip. Technological savviness is not my strong suit, so managing everything from an iPad with a weak internet connection, five thousand miles away from home, has been challenging. I better get used to it, though, because among the fun and excitement, there will definitely be challenges to face in the upcoming year. Bring it on! I am more than ready for this adventure.