Me Llamo Soe Han Tha.

Hello, I’m Soe Han Tha, and since this is the very first post on my Global Citizen Year blog, I am also a little nervous. It’s probably because the moment I submit this, I will have embarked on my bridge year journey before I even board the plane. This is the very beginning of my adult life, and yes, I’m nervous.

Rather than going to college this fall, I’ve decided to immerse myself in Ecuador for eight months where I hope to learn more about people, the world, and myself. I chose to take this extraordinary route for multiple reasons.

First reason: I’ve had my fair share of traveling, but it was always when I was completely surrounded by the place that I started to learn more about the beautiful things about it such as the culture, the languages, the food, and the people. I crave that type of immersion, and I am going to get it with Global Citizen Year.

Second reason: chemistry. And no, I’m not talking about the chemistry with the titration of hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. I mean the chemistry between human beings and the bonds that are created despite language barriers between people, which can sometimes be even stronger than an ionic bond. Trust me, it exists. I’ve seen it firsthand. Last summer, I participated in Experiment in International Living (EIL) for five weeks in Ecuador, where I met my host family: the Ortiz family. They were the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. Throughout my stay with them, I started to learn how to appreciate the little things such as a lunch together or even a short while of watching television on a small sofa, and in the process, I bonded with the family. Today, I’m very grateful that I participated in EIL because I discovered many things about people and myself. And I’m 100% positive that when I look back on my experience with Global Citizen Year, I’m going to appreciate the journey I took.

So as nervous and scared as I may be about this following year, I’m also excited about what my future holds because I know there’s knowledge and priceless experiences awaiting me. Now, I’m going to go get it.