It’s officially been more than 2 months and I think it’s safe for me to stay that I have adjusted pretty well in my community: I teach a 7th grade class that I love, I successfully vacationed with my host family, and have been around almost the entire – 10 million population – city that I’m in.
2 Months in and life could not be any better and this is thanks to Global Citizen Year and all the difficulties their team – in country or not – goes through to ensure each individual's’ success throughout their year.
One thing that I really love about Global Citizen year is that there is something for everyone. Each person I’ve talked to loves it for different reasons and has based their goals for the year based off of these appreciations.
Three of the many reasons why I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my year here so far is due to having been inspired by the 3 goals I see a Global Citizen Year fellow accomplishing in their own terms: Learning to be a more empathetic person, Organizing events, and Leading by example.
Learning to be a more empathetic leader –
Why: I believe our generation is the one who will figure out world peace. For this to happen, we need leaders who don’t think of leadership as a position, but as a role to help better the society based on their strengths. We need global minded people who have put themselves in the shoes of less fortunate people who have understood, really understood, how hard life may be for some. We need people who will lead for the sake of helping others, and not for the sake of publicity and leading.
How: By having an open mind and observing before judging.
Side note* Also I’ve found putting aside technologies that satisfy our curiosity nerve and going out and living in the moment and connecting with the community helps a lot.
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” -Mohsin Hamid
Why: To bridge and build a relationship between a need and a solution. As a foreigner, we bring an excited, fresh set of eyes to our communities and trying out something based on our interests and strengths could have a great positive impact on our communities.
Side note* People might be suddenly more interested and curious if they know a foreigner is involved.
How: Something as “small” as having some locals over for tea, or mobilizing musicians who want to – volunteer to – teach music to kids in a community, or even taking private high schoolers to government high schools – for an event – to build a relationship between them.
“Talent is universal, but opportunity isn’t”- Nicholas Kristof
Leading by example-
Why: As I mentioned before, people are more interested when a foreigner is involved. I, personally, feel as if it is my duty to be the most sincere, accepting, polite person I can be. The least I can do is be a decent human being in return of how much some people may look up to me as a “First world country resident”. We are the definition of “right” for these people. Perhaps wrongfully so.
How: By picking up trash, respecting people who may be talked down upon in our respective countries, “accidently” dismiss old fashioned norms and play clueless. (ex: gender, sexuality, emotions, etc…)
Side not* You were expecting a quote weren’t you? 🙂
On a somewhat similar note:
Passion is what stimulates our brain to cook up solutions, and to create passion through empathy, first hand experiences to how people of different backgrounds/cultures live is the key.
Want to make a difference but lacking resources? Bring attention to issues rather trying to do something about it.
Recruiting the current and future generations to social service is the hardest part. Having done this, the organizations and initiatives will pour in. Giving people the proper means/tools to contribute, which starts from connecting people of different backgrounds together to learn, and most importantly to empathize.
Often, bringing attention and recruiting people to solve issues start by being vocal about your ideas to people who may be able to help you and are supportive. Start being the change in your community by creating a safe space for communication and the exchange of ideas and feedback.