For seven months, I slept beside my suitcase. It was an experience intensified by a bed lined with borrowed sheets, strangers that knew each other very well, and a television that didn't speak my language. At eighteen, I was gathering valuable data for an environmental NGO in Brazil while living in the rural communities benefitted by its efficient cookstove project. I assisted on numerous tasks requiring a field perspective, meanwhile my principal function was administering data collection and entry. The responsibilities were tailored to overcome the challenges of a developing country; the insights they provided, concepts my books haven't quite managed to articulate in text.
I learned that to even begin contributing to a dent of positive change in someone else's life, you have to allow those you're serving to affect the same in yours. By way of my apprenticeship, I visited over two hundred homes and spoke to equally as many housewives. Women that not only in their words but in their actions exemplified strength. Their stories still encourage unconditional resilience in my own endeavors; an asset that far surpasses, in value and proportion, the benefits of my temporary presence in their kitchens.
My Global Citizen Year gave relevance to my ability of easily connecting with societies, cultures, and languages. And it provides that opportunity to all of its participants. (Whether you're working in a medical facility or a preschool classroom.) I'd recommend the experience to anyone! If when you disregard your doubts associated with you travel experience, the program's cost, and even your academic record, you're still passionate about becoming a participant: apply! You won't regret it.