Thank You PDT!

Isabel Garcia - Brazil


September 16, 2015


Before landing in Brazil, I spent eight days getting to know more about Global Citizen Year and the purpose of my year abroad. But most importantly I got to meet a diverse group of fellows who share similar interest as me, the global cohort of 2016. During PDT(Pre-Departure Training) we started our journey at Alliance Redwoods with a speech from Abby Falik who turned her “master plan” into a huge part of my future. On top of more wonderful speeches and presentations, the cohort was divided into smaller groups or what the fellows like to call “squad’s” for activities and reflections everyday. Getting in our squads was the highlight of my day. It was an opportunity for me to get to know more about the fellows that were taking on different countries. After five days in the Redwoods we made our way down to Stanford University. On our way there we passed by the Woodside Rd. exit on HWY 280. At this point it was really frustrating to be ten minutes away from home. It felt as I was trying to make my way out of town some how I still end up back.

At Stanford I discovered that I was not going to Brazil to “change” lives or make them better. I realized that as much as I want to, I have no power over that. I will learn from locals as they
live their lives. My perspectives will change and I will bring the facts home and/or wherever I end up. This is something I will take on day by day.

PDT was a great start to my journey. It gave more meaning to GCY than I would have ever thought. As it came to an end, seeing my family and best friend on the last night was a cherry on top. Although it broke my heart to say goodbye especially to my one year old niece, I knew this was for the better.

Senegal fellows were the first to make their way to the airport. Before I knew it I was on the bus saying goodbye to the Ecuador and India Fellows. After two layovers and 10+ hours on a plane, I arrived in Curitiba. Where my English could no longer do me any good. My chopped up Portuguese was going to have to come out now.

I have been in Brazil for about three weeks now. This Cali girl is really enjoying the rain and THE loudest thunderbolts I have ever heard. But I am so ready for spring! I was welcomed at a beautiful hostel. Then met my loving host family who can speak Portuguese, English and a little Spanish.. so it can get messy sometimes but we understand each other.

I want to give thanks to those who have supported me every step of the way these past months. Thank you to all the staff who organized/led activities that brought this cohort together. Thank you to all the alumni who participated during PDT, you all are inspiring and VERY unique. Thank you to all the wonderful fellows; good luck in all your upcoming adventures. I cannot express how excited and proud I am for the fellows of 2016. Lastly, a big thank you to my family, friends and BUILD staff. I love you all.

Until April of 2016.

Isabel Garcia