Rising above

Alondra Quiles - Brazil


August 25, 2016

August 25, 2016 10:15PM

The same way an infant struggles at grasping the concept of life and survival, coming into pre departure training, I too struggled to understand why I was committed to Global Citizen Year. When applying the moment the application had become accessible, I knew I had wanted to apply but I was never really sure if my reasons for such an option were considered to be valid and it wasn't until I had actually arrived at pre departure training and was then required to move out of home a week prior to flying out to Brasil that I realized that all the reasons I had at the start of the journey were exactly why I stuck by my decision and pulled through even when college dorm shopping and college choice decisions seemed far more appealing. It was the idea that I would be missing out on so much and the fear that I would lose every relationship that I had worked so hard to keep strong in my life that terrified me. Would I make it through 8 months in a foreign country and become successful? Or would I long to return home to what I had become so attached to? 

See, it wasn't until I left home (even if only for a week) that I realized that I wasn't saying goodbye to just about everything I love, but rather I was just saying "see you soon" because for once in my life I had decided that being selfish and doing something for myself would be the right choice for me. 
So you might be wondering, what it is that I want. 
I want to feel trapped. To feel as though the world around me is collapsing when in reality its only building me up. I want to feel vulnerable in a country I have never before seen or been to so that I can learn to be strong and independent. I want to stop being so afraid to live and just DO IT because life is so beautiful and wasting it doubting myself and my abilities and avoiding growth and change will never get me anywhere. I want to experience a culture and norms that make no sense to me. I want to understand how hard my parents had to work in the fields of Colima, Mexico so that I could be fortunate enough to gain a life in America. An American dream that they could never really have, but that they could give me. I want to know that every pain I feel in my body and in my heart are only making me wiser and more experienced. I want to understand why bad things happen and why good things and good people are taken away from us especially when we need them the most. I want to build friendships with people I never thought I would meet. I want to bring to the table what no one ever expected of me. I want to make my parents proud and show the world that that one girl they said would never graduate and would never make it anywhere in life is now traveling the world and engaging herself in ways many people can't. I want to use this knowledge to guide me towards a successful 4 years in college and hopefully even further than that because I want to give without anything in return. 
I believe Global Citizen Year can give me this and even more. And through the pain and tears that have made me long for home over the course of the week, I know I got this in the bag because I am me and if I was crazy enough to take this risk with a program I had known nothing about, then what can't I accomplish in life? 
I am strong. I am crazy. But overall, I'm just a teenager with dreams who is actually taking her life by the ropes and shaping her future how she wants to rather than how society wants me to. 

Alondra Quiles