I landed in Quito after a full day of travel today. I did not even attempt to go to sleep last night, since the bus was leaving at 3:15 and I had to pack and weigh my bags. Fall training at Stanford was amazing and I had a spectacular time getting to know the other 90 Global Citizen Year Fellows there. On the first day, the 19th, I was the first to check in, so after i dropped off my bags in my room I got a feel for the place I would be training in for 9 days. I helped other fellows with their bags and chatted them up, asking what their names were, where they were going for the 8 months, and where they were coming from. Pretty much anybody that I didn’t approach came up to me asking the same questions I had asked many times. By the end of the day, I felt like I already knew these people so well.
We started training, with amazing guest speakers, well-known or not, and mixed it up with a few teambuilding excercises so we could get to know everyone we had not talked to. Everyone was outgoing, and they all were here because they wanted to be, not because they had to. We were embarking on similar journeys, but coming from different places in our lives and in the country. Soon enough, I felt as if I had known these Fellows for years, and a random person would probably make the same assumption by seeing us interact.
Soon after everyone was together and had started training, we were informed that 46 of us would be going to Ecuador, 15 would be going to Brazil, and 30 would be going to Senegal. It didn’t hit me until a few days before my departure that half of the people I had grown to love and bond with were about to leave to different countries than I was. I had become so close to all of them in just 10 days, and although I am sad to see them go, I know they will have a phenomenal experience in their countries.
I want to thank everyone for helping me make my decision to take this transformative journey and meet these people that I will know and love for years to come. I also want to thank everyone who has contributed to my fundraising campaign, because all that money will go to a scholarship to allow anyone who wants such an amazing trip to partake in it. I want to remind you all that my campaign is still going on, so donations would be very much appreciated by me and the person that you help joing this wonderful program. I can’t wait to start my apprenticeship and meet my host family because this whole experience will make me feel a connection to people and countries around the globe. Thank you again, and once I get back to California I can’t wait to share my experience with all of you in person!