*This is something I wrote about my experience in Senegal and I would want to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it and I would be more than glad to answer any questions you have. Keep in mind that this is just a single story of my experience in Senegal and that it doesn't portray the story of the whole country. Thank you!
The sun has never shined more. The heat and the sand have never bothered me as much. The waves have never been stronger. The sky has never been as colourful. The people have never been as open and hospitable. My heart has never been as much at peace ever before.
I have found many homes in the places I have been to, even in those short one day trips. I was never scared to travel, explore, make mistakes, leave underprepared. It's all a part of the learning process – I would tell myself. I cared about the experience more than my own comfort and I would never change that part about my travel stories.
Senegal was a different challenge. It was the first time I was about to live in a different continent, in a country I barely knew anything about. It was so different from everything I had ever known before, starting from the weather to its every day life. Both myself and my organization stressed the idea of curiosity before judgment, so I stepped into Senegal full with questions and an open mind to learn. I believe that it was the best decision I made in order to shape my experience. Throughout my gap year, I was learning how to be a better listener and to be actively present in the lives of the people in my surrounding. I was learning how to be more calm and how to not rush into things or stress too much. I was learning that each and every person has a story to share and the least we could do is just give them a chance.
I am so grateful to have had this experience and I believe that I grew so much in the past year. This wouldn't be possible without the help of so many people. This includes my host family that showed me the importance of family, my host mom who showed me persistence and hard work, my friends who stayed up with me on the phone or walked with me on the streets during both my ups and downs, Global Citizen Year, Shelby Davis and UWC, the Senegal team and my team leader for always believing in me and helping me grow personally, sama cohort for being compassionate and just uniquely weird and my family for always supporting me even when they don't completely understand my actions.