Today is my last day as a global citizen year fellow.
You all may have been wondering what the past two months have been like in this weird purgatory stage all fellows have been in- out of country but still in the program. For me, I’m still dealing with reverse culture shock, regaining my friendships, and figuring out my next steps. I found a big part in being able to have resolution is the capstone project. I did two capstones: a video to spread awareness about the beauty of a gap year, and I held presentations at my school for Spanish classes about using your Spanish skills outside of the classroom. I couldn’t decide with one idea, because I knew I could make an impact on multiple target audiences. Firstly, the adventurer who might get inspired by my video, or a language student interested in becoming fluent.
I found creating the video slightly frustrating, as my amateur iPhone 6s videos didn’t seem like they were doing Ecuador any justice (link to video posted in last blog). I still had fun during this process though and it was an easy way to inspire people to take a gap year: with eye-candy views and FOMO inducing videos of me riding llamas.
The presentation took a bit more work, but I knew I had the responsibility to tell my story through a more intimidate and detailed manner. Less about the views I saw and more about what I learned, experienced, and conquered. At first I was only going to do a video, but something felt empty inside of me. I needed to tell my story properly. So I created a powerpoint with a friend who went to Nicaragua for a week on an immersion trip and we gave a presentation to different levels of Spanish classes in my high school. I found myself rambling a lot and running out of time. I would go off on the longest tangents about crazy, weird, and funny stories that I had. I would end up talking about food for a whole 10 minutes. My passion was immense, and I felt the desire for my experience to get acknowledged by these high-schoolers. Some classes didn’t care, and would just stare at me as a I rambled in Spanish. However I did have some lively students who asked me questions, stared with gaping mouths, and reacted profoundly when I showed them pictures of me preparing cuy.
In review, I feel my cap stone project was a needed step in having resolution with my year, to have my story heard, acknowledged, and to spread the word about gap years. I will let me move on from this stage in my life, but also apply what I learned in the future.
Signing off, Diego.