I am sitting at 35,000 feet on my final flight from Hong Kong back to the States. With only 3 of the 12 hour flight remaining, I know my time with my friends will soon come to an end. But Dr. Seuss said don’t cry because it’s over smile because it happened. I want to use this review of ARCC in asia to talk about all the fond memories and realizations I will take away from this portion of my gap year.
This trip has far exceeded any and all expectations. First I will focus on the experiences themselves. Over the last 3 months I have done so much… below are just a taste of all I have done!
- Rode a Tuk Tuk
- Built Water filters in Cambodia
- Saw the sunrise on Angkor Wat
- Learned to Scuba Dive and loved Scuba Diving
- Worked at an elephant sanctuary
- Developed a strong relationship with my host mom during a homestay in a rural thai farm village.
-Climbed and slept on the great wall of china!
-Hiked Tiger Leaping Gorge (7 miles a day!)
-Went to a rural village in Fu Gong China and built a toilet for a village with only 1 toilet
-Volunteered at Friendship Village
-Swam and relaxed at Halong Bay
- Said goodbye to 13 amazing people…relationships that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
But frankly the experiences would be nothing if it weren’t for the kids I experienced them with. Every single one of the members in my cohort are so valued. A great way to explain this is the words I shared with my group at our final evening circle closing circle. “ I came into this trip feeling a little insecure socially. I leave today thankful that I have made 11 new friends and more importantly have garnered the confidence to simply trust and be myself. I look forward to staying in touch in the future. Thanks for making these 3 months some of the best 3 months of my life.”
Indeed these last 3 months in Asia have been so much more than simply exploring and learning about Asia. It was about the social connections I made. It is about learning to trust and believe in myself that I can make friends I am liked for who I am. And it was about learning about the reality my life is just one small fraction of this world: indeed there are so many like minded people out there and it is just about giving them a chance to share their story because chances are you have more in common than not.
In sum, my time in Asia is one of the most coveted parts of my life and I am forever grateful for the places I saw, the people I met, and the new relationships that will last with me for a lifetime!