I would have never thought that after being alone in a foreign country, and experiencing life there that my heart would have opened up to wanting to live and work internationally. If I had not gone to Europe, I would still be the same girl that was afraid to take risks, and would hold my mom’s hand at the grocery store. I realized after being home, the opportunity to be on my own, and have freedom to explore and make choices for myself helped me to learn things about myself that I never knew.
Once I was home, I heard about an amazing opportunity through my school were we would be traveling internationally to help build water harvesters to benefit some families. I had never done a community service trip so I decided to sign up for my first one, and did that on my spring break. Not only was this my first time doing a service trip alone, but it also happened to be an international trip to Nicaragua. Let me say, yes I was nervous because I was going to an undeveloped area, and was not sure what to expect, but let me just tell you that this was an unbelievable experience that also helped to realize how much I love to travel and learn new things. I wasn’t as nervous, I knew the routing, pack light, make sure all my liquids are bagged in clear bags, and I knew exactly what I needed to take so that I wouldn’t have any packing regrets. I knew what the process was when going through TSA and customs, so it was nothing out of the ordinary. I was not worried about having no phone access, it was what I looked forward to because most people now spend most of their time on their phones and don’t live in the moment.
I graduate in less than 50 days, and all I can think of is where and what I am going to end up doing. Before I had decided to go on the IBS seminar, I most likely would have continued working at my current job which is in my hometown, exactly ten minutes away from my house. Now, the possibilities are endless. Knowing that there is life out there other than my hometown where I was born and raised, and where I decided to go to college allows me to know that I want to continue traveling and seeing the rest of the world. Knowing that graduation is around the corner, and everyone and their mothers keeps asking the same questions “what are your plans after graduation?”, answering with “I don’t know”, but I have somewhat an idea of what it is that I want to do. I have recently decided that I want to teach English abroad specifically in Madrid, Spain. I decided that I wanted to do this, because when I finished the travel seminar and returned home, I had a new perspective on culture, language skills, education, and a willingness to learn. My experienced lead to falling in love with the countries that I visited that I decided to apply to jobs in those countries, and hopefully move after college.
I have been very blessed with the opportunities that IBS has brought into my life. I have traveled to 8 different countries within 5 months, and have gotten to see different people and their cultures. My favorite part about traveling is seeing how friendly everyone is. Meeting people and sharing your story on why you chose to travel to their hometown was something I enjoyed and it helped to realize my story. If you are still indecisive about traveling, I hope after you read this you will take the chance and go. Let me tell you, there is nothing to be afraid of. I guarantee you that you will have the best time of your life, and if you were like me who had no clue what I wanted to do after college, this trip and traveling has helped me.