I’ve always been the adventurous type. Ever since I could wobble on my own two feet, I’ve been seeking out new challenges and experiences that have the potential to broaden my horizons and strengthen my knowledge of myself and the world in which we live. Coming from a small town (Rutherfordton, NC population: 4,000) has had both its advantages and its disadvantages. While I’ve always had and will have a tight-knit community of friendliness and support to fall back on, I’ve also had to put a lot of effort into stretching beyond the comfortable boundaries that can be so temptingly safe. (Not to mention the fact that I’ve had to accept the endless mocking of my good ‘ole southern accent- all in good fun I know.)
In addition to my yearning to learn and grow, I feel a deeper purpose to take that knowledge and use it as power to make a targeted difference – to leave this world better than I found it. My bridge year in Ecuador opens the door for me to learn about all sorts of things- the Spanish language, Ecuadorian culture, pertinent global issues, etc. But, the main goals I wish to get out of my experience concern both internal and external analysis. Through my personal journey, I hope to figure out just what it is I have to offer the world. I want to become more in touch with my strengths and weaknesses as a person and a leader and to become confidently aware of my purpose. I want to enter my freshman year of college with a specific objective in mind, and then shape the rest of my life around that. I no longer want to feel “in the dark” about the direction in which I’m headed.
During my time in my host country, I would like to not only observe, but to participate in, a new culture and lifestyle. I plan to seek out the similarities between this and my life in the U.S. instead of solely focusing on the differences. I know I will discover ways in which we are all connected in this world- the universal human qualities that draw us to one another and inspire us to reach out.