From a GRSP Scholar
Learning from New Experiences, Different Points of View

by Katherine Ancinez, Colombia -hosted by the Albany, Dougherty and Blakely Rotary Clubs - Georgia Southwestern State University

The day before my arrival to Georgia, I was very anxious about leaving everyone back home behind. Instead of feeling set free, I felt more like being left on my own. I was so nervous about meeting new people, especially when I had to speak a language that is not my native one. Nevertheless, I had a host family, and a trustee that received me with open arms. The way they understood my situation and the help they granted me made me feel at home.

In college, I got to experience and learn about things I'm passionate about. This helped me grow as a musician. It also made it clear to me what I wanted to do when I went back home. Something challenging about college was meeting new people. It is hard to have things in common with totally different cultures, and this was the challenge I had to overcome. I tried to hide from it and only made friends with those who came from South America. Nevertheless, I then realized that this program was mostly about experiencing the American lifestyle and that this comfort zone I put myself in was blocking me from the actual purpose of GRSP. Now I can say that it was worth the risk. Although people sometimes were not open, in the end I found a group that welcomed me with love. And with them I learned to accept differences, and to find those things that made our cultures very similar and beautiful.

Spending time with the other GRSP students for me was the most fulfilling part of the program. I find it so incredible that people from all over the world ended up at the same place. We were all so different, but at the same time, we were all put in the same situation. This is what made us so close. And the best part is that we are all willing to share our cultural shocks. It’s funny that, for example, the cold weather was very strange for me, but for another person, seeing palm trees was strange. Spending time together made us learn so much. And the best part is that I can’t say anything bad about any of them. They are all lovely souls.

So much traveling, meeting new people, trying new things, and adapting helped me grow so much. I don’t have the words to describe how thankful I am for everything I discovered. We don’t know how wrong we are about someone or something until we actually get in their shoes. This is something I will keep with me forever. GRSP made me realize that world peace is possible if we are willing to understand circumstances from different points of view. I want to say thank you to all the GRSP family for giving me the best year of my life.

Posted by Lynn Clarke
June 5, 2019


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