A while ago, my mom asked me how Global Citizen helps a person become a better leader. She was generally confused because the web-site was vague, and didn’t necessarily offer much information for how it truly helps a person become a leader, especially while in one’s country.

I for one, when I began this journey, was also confused, so I’ll try my best to shed some light on the main reasons I feel this program helps.

You become more self-aware. You understand both your strengths and weaknesses because you’re placed in an environment far outside of you comfort zone, along with the free time and independence to reflect on your experiences.

I have found that “knowing thyself” is imperative for personal growth. I have learned to recognize what physical and emotional state I am experiencing, why that state occurs, as well as the most effective way to deal with it. I am now better able to utilize my strengths day to day, as well as be mindful of my weaknesses in certain situations, while also being comfortable in my own shell.

You broaden your perspective. By being placed into a different country, you learn how the world truly functions outside the US, along with the exposure to a different set of standards and cultural values. In addition, you gain a far better appreciation for the education you receive.

I used to feel that college was just stepping stone to acquiring a job, rather than a way to explore and get involved in ways that would grow me as a person. I have also gained a certain appreciation for my circumstances in life, as well as a genuine confidence for my place in this world.

Finally, you gain independence. Like I said, you’re put into a completely different environment, with a different language and different values. Nobody from home is with you. Sure, you have fellows in your region, but you’re mainly by yourself. No friends or family from back home. Outside of your job and family obligations, you have the opportunity to discover, the choice to broaden your boundaries, and the freedom to grow unrestrained.

Global Citizen Year has been imperative for my growth as a human being. For once in my life, I am truly happy where I’m at, and am excited for life’s opportunities.