“If there were no change, there would be no butterflies!” – I recall telling my students that Thursday afternoon… “The best things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone, that’s when you conquer your fears and become bold enough to succeed in your endeavors and dreams.”
I was indeed giving a motivational speech to my students that day, but deep inside I knew that voice was talking to me as well. As a matter of fact, that voice had been “whispering” to me for some time now… I knew I wanted to be a “butterfly” … And the opportunity didn’t take a long time to knock on my door.
It all started a random Saturday afternoon… While scrolling on my social media, I stumbled upon an announcement made by the AADF for the Master’s and Internships (MIP) Programs. I remember that a feeling of both joy and hope kindled my heart in that precise instant. That was the change I was talking to my students about, and I knew that I had to take this opportunity that comes only once in a lifetime.
So here I stand today, after three months of having arrived in Boston (MA), which is one of the top notch academic hubs, the home to some of the world’s best colleges and universities such as Harvard and MIT. This feature makes the city incredibly young, and it offers endless world-class events to attend and choose from. Boston is also a city with lots of history which is reflected in the numerous prominent museums that constitute its patrimony.
And as I walk through the quaint cobbled stone streets, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to have been chosen for this extraordinary experience and to actually be here feeling and living all of this. This experience is making me know new people from different countries and nationalities, visiting new places, and making new friends. It feels like a dream come true… Nevertheless, I feel that there are so many other things that need to be achieved in this journey whose main “topic” is that of change and transformation on so many different levels for me.
1.The principal reason that made me undertake this long journey, miles away from my family, and from my safe place, was a change in my career. I have been teaching for many years now, and even though I love teaching young generations, I felt like I wanted to challenge myself with something different, something new and exciting. So, after several interviews that are part of the MIP application process, I finally found my placement, a non-profit organization called United Planet, based in Boston, MA. The mission of this non-profit is to empower and connect students as global citizen leaders through project-based educational programs that will engage them in cross-cultural collaborations and develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills. United Planet has been involved in global community engagement and education such as faculty-led programs, service-learning, internships and volunteer abroad for almost 22 years now. As you get to know the people at United Planet you notice that they are a team that really respect and care about one another. I really felt welcomed and I am learning more every day with everybody’s help and support here. I consider myself lucky to have two mentors who are passionate in what they do, and patient enough to teach me the “secrets” of a successful job. Being part of two different projects at United Planet and working with great professionals in the fields of business, marketing and counseling is honing my skills in communication, recruitment, marketing, projects’ grant writing, as well as developing my critical and analytical skills while having to deal with different situations every single day. I believe that this career related change will build more confidence in me and will lead to the realization of what I want to do in the long-term.
2. Secondly, this change is helping me grow personally as well. You grow and learn every time something changes and you discover new insights about different aspects of your life. One of the aspects that I am developing during this time is learning to be more flexible and also prioritizing, which is something I have always struggled with. I am liking that I have started being more organized and accomplishing tasks that I never thought I would do. Valuing time, expecting more of myself, communicating new ideas, all of this is making me realize how much I am continuing to grow. Such an experience can really upgrade your personal life and you feel as if you are better equipped to take on the world.
That’s why I think we all should always hear to that voice deep inside of us, we shouldn’t be scared taking up a challenge and creating change. Change starts with a passion, change begins with a plan, and change begins with me.
Be a butterfly… Flap your wings wide open in the skies of opportunities, and be ready to take the beauty out of every experience…