Guiding Principle #7
We embrace unique cultural circumstances which push participants to greater personal awareness and growth.
I was an IFYE from Nebraska to Jamaica in 1984. My IFYE experience is one that set me on a path of adventure and love for meeting people where they live and have had an opportunity to do so in many ways since. Some of my international travel has been work related, some personal, and some as a result of being an IFYE alum. I’m grateful for all of those opportunities!
Your personal comfort zone is a wonderful place! It is comfortable, it feels cozy and warm, it is ordered by routines you know, it feels safe, it is like a little bubble around you. However, Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and author says, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new”.
What is your physical reaction when you do something new or different for the first time? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Do your palms sweat? Do you giggle out of nervousness?
IFYE provides so many opportunities to try something new and expand the boundaries of your bubble.
You will be nervous the first time you meet your host family, but they will open their arms and welcome you into their home.
When you are immersed in a new culture you will certainly eat new foods, figure out how to communicate if you don’t speak the same language, dance to different music, you will challenge your beliefs and start to look at time, personal space, social norms and how families live in a new way. Go ahead, let your palms sweat and giggle freely!
You will become more confident as you adapt to a new set of routines. Imagine how excited you would be the first time you haggle successfully in the market and make the correct change!
You will learn new things and you will be able to do things you didn’t think you could. The magic, the growth, the excitement, begins when you step outside your comfort zone.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela, South African activist and former president of South Africa
Nebraska to Jamaica 1984