For a long time, the word community applied only to what I knew was familiar and the world was a smaller place because of it. And then everything changed.
My freshman year of high school, I joined Model United Nations (MUN) and in a way, the decision made itself, as I entered in blindly and found myself in an environment far outside the boundaries of my comfort zone. Playing to my greatest fears, our first assignment that year was to give a thirty second speech on our given country, mine being Saudi Arabia, a place that I no idea how to spell let alone knew that it existed. Little did I know, however, that this speech would mark the beginning of a four year long career in public speaking that would sculpt me anew with curiosity and a relentless ambition which allowed me to distance myself from the disconnected student I once was. My experiences in MUN have left me to marvel at the progress of four years and gifted me with a sense of pride and gratitude towards a program that undoubtedly diversified my interests. With its exhausting coordination of both debate and a global frame of mind, MUN extends an invitation to seek the answers to some of the most sophisticated problems the international community faces today from the perspective of those who will soon inherit the world and all that accompanies it. Now, as a recent high school graduate and my MUN career behind me, I am faced with different questions about the role that I will play as a delegate in the world that I have discovered.
College was always in the picture, but the picture now looked wrong to me. And I do not mean wrong in the sense of right and wrong as I do not believe that there is a right or wrong way to pursue an education, but wrong in the sense that the timing was off. MUN had sparked my interest in a variety of subjects, globalized my outlook, and cursed me with a curiosity for culture that was unrelenting. College then travel was not the right order for me, I was bound and determined. And that is when I found Global Citizen Year.
Global Citizen Year is the gift I never knew I needed and quickly became my dream school with a year long program that places an emphasis on deep cultural immersion and an international impact. Global Citizen Year sends Fellows through an application process to Brazil, India, Ecuador, or Senegal with the opportunity live with a host family and work as apprentices in local projects in the fields of social enterprise, sustainability, healthcare, and agriculture.
I am proud to say that this year, I will be a Global Citizen Year Fellow in Senegal a decision realized through my participation in Model UN and supported by an inquiring mind. Prior to joining MUN, I had little knowledge or desire to be informed of the international occurrences that despite my hesitation deserved the acknowlegdment, and it is because of MUN that I am now aware of the people, places, and problems that are very much real and very much worthy of my attention. MUN magnified my global outlook from that of a localized one and attempted to understand the problems that existed beyond the borders of my home, all while being sensitive to the reality that each country contains cultures and communities that remain unparalleled. With Global Citizen Year, I wanted to take my knowledge and apply it in a real life context for I had talked about and researched these problems, but never had I experienced them firsthand.
Knowing what I know now, it is hard not to see myself pursuing all that I am and it is because of MUN that I am a Fellow in Global Citizen Year and the word community no longer applies to a singular place in time. My world is blossoming and I am reveling in eager anticipation for all that I have to embrace.