Simone Fillion-Raff - Ecuador

July 14, 2013

Ever since I could read, I always used books to explore. Although incredibly cliché, I loved that I didn’t actually have to leave my house to climb into the world of Frog and Toad or Molly Moon. My younger, lazier self would be disappointed to find I did leave my home for an academic year to go to France, where I discovered a passion for languages, other cultures, art, food, and everything foreign. After returning home, I found myself yearning for the outside.

I found out about Global Citizen Year through my mother, though I didn’t decide to apply until two days before the March deadline. I was on spring break in Utah when I realized that I wanted this opportunity. As acceptances and rejections flooded my email, I typed away on my computer, reaching out to friends and teachers to help me complete my application. The further I got into the process, the more I was excited by the idea of straying away from the normal path of high school to college. My abroad experience taught me that there was something beyond that normal path. I experienced something I craved: like-minded students who wanted to know more about the increasingly interconnected world we live in, places unlike home, and memories worthy of a best-selling novel. I had found my way back into this world.

In between the day I submitted my application and the day I heard the decision, I allowed myself to fantasize about being in a foreign country again, learning the language, experiencing the culture, seeing new sites, and meeting new people. I thought about what I would make my apprenticeship; I hoped for work with an NGO as I desperately want to change the world. My parents taught me to stand up for other people when they couldn’t fight back. I hoped with all my heart to be given the chance to try and make a difference.

The day I got my acceptance, my mother cried. “So, can I do it?” I asked over the phone. “Of course.” My dad replied. And so the journey begins.

Simone Fillion-Raff