Tamea Levingston

How Has SDC Chile Prepared me for College?

In the beginning of my journey, I didn’t know what I was in for. Yes, I knew that I was studying abroad, but I didn’t know exactly how it would impact my life. My head was filled with questions and my body was engulfed with a mix of emotions and feelings. The main questions that floated through my head were, “How well will I get along with my group members? Will they accept me for me? Are they just as nervous as I am?”. Slowly, these emotions and questions faded along the way, when I realized that I’m more confident than I thought I was. While exploring the cities of Chile and the historic land of Easter Island, I was presented with challenges I never would have thought I’d have to face. There were several times when doubt and fear overpowered by mind, but I quickly gained confidence with the help of my supportive group members. Every mountain I hiked, and every stone I stumbled upon made me realize that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, to never give up, and always have faith. The challenges that I faced while studying abroad helped shape me for college in a social, mental, and physical aspect.

Entering college as a first-year student is equivalent to living in a country that you’re not familiar with. It comes with adjustments, meeting new people, as well as finding where you belong in a new chapter of your life. I was surrounded by a new culture of people for a month. This gave me a chance to understand how people live, political views, how others are raised, and even sparked the parts of my brain that function least often–trying to comprehend and speak Spanish. This was especially difficult given that Chileans use heavy slang. This study encouraged me to get to know people when I venture off to college and make new friends of different ethnic backgrounds.

Living in a different country for a month is eye opening and allows room for growth, so now I know that I can study any place I put my mind to without having the fear of being away from home. Before my journey in Chile, I didn’t see myself as being an active college student, but this experience has developed my feelings towards participating in student organizations. I picture myself studying cultures around the world, hiking mountains with new friends, as well as creating and organizing clubs and programs for students who feel like they’re out of place on campus.

This year as a senior, I’ve been elected to be one of the representatives for my class. I’ve always had visions of being a part of my school’s student council, but I never had the courage to step outside of my comfort zone. My experience in Chile and being selected by Student Diplomacy Corps, has helped me blossom into a young adult, it has also prepared me for entering college as a first-year student. My confidence is higher than it’s ever been before, I’m able to use my voice with confidence, I’m not afraid to meet new people, and I’ve become open minded to adjusting to a new lifestyle.

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