Why Not?

Maya Panicker - Senegal

August 27, 2015

When informing peers of my imminent bridge year in Senegal, the response usually starts out the same: Where the heck is Senegal? After explaining to them that, yes, Senegal is a real country and, no, it’s not one of those tiny island nations, they begin to ask the real question.


Why would I choose to move to the other side of the world for a year when I can follow the normal path to college? Why would I go somewhere where no one speaks my language when I can communicate easily right where I am? Why would I do something so unknown when I already have everything I could ever need? Just…why?

I wish the answer to this question was something noble and heroic.

“I’m going to ‘save’ Africa.” “I’m going to feed the starving children.” “I’m going to change the world.”

But in reality, I won’t even come close to accomplishing any of these thing, so why would I go? My answer is quite simple. Why not?

If given the chance, why not build relationships that will surpass physical borders and cultural norms? Why not become immersed in a language that I have never been exposed to before? Why not dive head first into an opportunity to learn about a culture unfamiliar to me first hand? I have been given the chance of a lifetime to step outside of my comfort zone and see the world from a different perspective.

So, why not?

Maya Panicker