Claire Amsden - Senegal

July 10, 2012

Privilege, happenstance, good parenting, and community have all led me to Global Citizen Year. First, I have had the privilege to live in the United States, giving me access to resources and benefits that many people in our world will never experience. Without this, Global Citizen Year would not be an option I could consider. Then, during April of my junior year, I had the luck to happen upon an article about Global Citizen Year in the Christian Science Monitor. Before that fateful moment when I turned the page to read the inspiring story of how Abigail Falik founded Global Citizen Year, I hadn’t even considered a gap year. But here I have to recognize my parents because I wouldn’t have been reading the Christian Science Monitor if they, along with other members of my community, hadn’t raised me to care about our world and my role in it, instead of what’s going on in pop culture. (Not that pop culture is bad, I just have different interests than most of my peers – i.e. I’d much rather read the news than watch a new episode of “The Bachelor.”)

However, the most important thing of all is that learning about new cultures, while hopefully giving back a part of myself to those I meet, makes my inner light shine. Sorry I’m being cheesy, but there’s really no other way to describe how I feel during those moments. I hope to share this light with you as I travel on this journey. Sometimes, my challenges and troubles may hide my light from others and myself. Other times it will shine so brightly it will seem as if I swallowed the sun whole for breakfast. But no matter how I’m feeling, knowing that I have a community back home that is supporting me the whole way will keep me from burning out completely.

Claire Amsden