Three Months Late, But At Least Now You Know

Julia Shankin - Brazil


November 19, 2016

Disclaimer: This is an original blog that I actually wrote during PDT, but due to technical difficulties, I was unable to upload any blogs until now. I hope you enjoy this snapshot of how I was feeling almost three whole months ago!

It has now been a full week since I have been in California for Pre-Departure training. I know this comes as a big surprise to everyone who thought I was moving to Brazil on August 15, but I have actually been in America this whole time! It has been an exhausting seven days with packed schedules, intense emotional vulnerability, incredible speakers, and countless friends that I will keep for life. I have started journaling for the first time in my life because there is no way I could possibly remember all of the things I have been doing without keeping a written record, because my brain has reached saturation with all of the information and stories I have been processing since I have been here.

Although I am exhausted, I am energized and thrilled to get in country. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that this year will almost definitely be the hardest of my life, but everyone tells me that it will also be the best. I have to trust the alumni of the program when they promise that my host family will love me and I will learn Portuguese quickly and I will overcome all of the daunting obstacles that I know are only two days away. Although I am terrified, I have never been more confident in any decision than my choice to take a bridge year in Brazil. It has really built my confidence to see so many people who are just like me, about to embark on an equally terrifying journey. I am so incredibly grateful for the immense support system that Global Citizen Year has put in place for us while in country.

We have discussed in one of our many sessions with the staff that the fellows in country are functioning at a level of Unconscious Incompetence, a state in which we are so dysfunctional that we don’t even know what we don’t know. I will land in Brazil and function at the level of a small child because I can’t speak the language and have no idea of how to behave in this foreign culture. Along with this disheartening knowledge comes the certainty that I will learn and grow and eventually be able to have a deep understanding of my community and family, which is really my goal in joining this program. I have wanted this opportunity for so long and thought about it so much that I assumed it would never happened for me, but here I am.  No going back now!

Julia Shankin