Since my decision to be a Global Citizen Year fellow, people have asked “What are you going to do?” quite a lot. I answered the question by laying out the program structure. But that answer isn’t personal, people asked “what are you going to do?” And I answered, “The program does this…” or “Fellows have worked on these type of projects”. Only being able to provide vague answers only bothered me when those answers prevented me from sharing my excitement.
It was only a few days ago that we learned our site placements; I will be living in Ibel in the Kedougou region working in the education sector. I am very excited about my site placement, but I felt no need to get back to every person who asked “what are you doing?” with a clearer answer. I’m here now and I’m much more focused on the present.
At Pre-departure training, Alumni and staff talked a lot about the result of Global Citizen Year: how amazing, transformative, and powerful the program is. Before leaving the US, I knew I was going to change and grow, wonder and be amazed in Senegal.
But today, we were asked how we want to change. I was not told I will be changed, but rather asked exactly how I want to change, who I want to be, what impact we want to have.
Setting a vision for the entire year seemed, at first, an extremely difficult task. But I can answer “What are you going to do?” and I have accepted the belief that this year will be transformative. Deciding how I want to change is the next logical step, and I found to be the most empowering step. Global Citizen Year provides opportunities and only I have the power to use them, to mold my experience, to decide how I want to grow and change. Writing this statement gave me energy because I created my own purpose; now I’m ready to go out and take hold of the adventure before me.
This is my vision statement: By April, I will be comfortable saying “my”: my family, my community, my home, etc. I will be a member of my family, create a personal community, and integrate into established communities in my village. I will remember to choose gratitude and happiness. I will be a confident communicator in Pulaar and a confident leader. I will develop habits of engagement and immersion. I will have new questions to answer and explore about myself, the world, and humanity.