Wait…WHAT? I am going to Senegal!?!!

Shakhi Begum - Senegal


July 16, 2013

Letting go of his little tiny hands, I knew I didn’t want to come to the United States of America. Warid was only four months old when my family moved here, leaving him with his mother, my older sister, Shammi. I loved them too much to leave them all the way on the other side of the world. I was terrified of what I would face in the US once I got here. Of course my dad was here, but I hadn’t seen him since I was four so it was nerve-wracking. I needed comfort and the only person that could help me was my sister Shammi. I didn’t want to come to the US.

When I landed in New York, the cold air slapped my warm face as a way to say welcome. Welcome to the land of opportunity and diversity. At the time I didn’t know it would be something like that when my dad rented a house in Fall River, MA. I never knew that I would be put into an art class, a music class, in a gym, etc. in my new school, enrolled as a sixth grader. These things were not provided at all at schools in Bangladesh. As time went by, I realized how lucky I was to be here. A year later, in 2007, my older sister moved to the US with the help of her husband. Everything was perfect.

My family moved once again to Cambridge, MA. This place was even more diverse than Fall River. It’s a place where I have seen how people can not only get along, but also celebrate the opportunity to live and study and work together across racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines. It’s a place that taught me to take risks and all the opportunities I have around me.

Before going to college, I found this amazing opportunity that I couldn’t let go of. When I heard that I got in to Global Citizen Year with a full scholarship, I was shocked. I am going to Senegal! THIS IS A LIFE CHANGING EVENT! And how lucky does one get to have the chance to immerse in a place where you don’t speak the language or know the culture?

I will have the chance to experience living in different conditions that will make me become a global citizen. Global Citizen Year will prepare me for what’s ahead and it will provide me with a year of awesomeness.

Shakhi Begum