2020 Spring External Programs Ivyanna Colon-Greider Peru SIT Study Abroad

Starting a New Chapter

“Seguir” means “to follow,” but it can also mean “to continue” or “to keep going.” No matter how tough life gets, we must have the strength and courage to go on.

As months turn into weeks and weeks into days, I feel more anxious and excited for my long-awaited trip with SIT’s Indigenous Peoples and Globalization program in Perú. My departure date is rapidly approaching, and although I am apprehensive to leave for such a long time, I am also ready to leave the monotony of my current life behind and to start a new and exciting chapter.

I love Philly and when I first arrived, I thought the place was magical. I opened myself up to new experiences and new people, and I grew a lot emotionally and intellectually. However, after living here for three years, the city has lost its charm for me. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of fun things to do and see, but while going to school and working constantly to make it through the day, Philly has become just another blur in the background.

Due to comfortability with my surroundings, my individual growth and progress have been stagnant. I regressed to old habits and behaviors, and I haven’t challenged myself to continue growing. As a result, I have become a lot more introverted, and I haven’t put myself in many situations to be and do better. That is why I need this change of environment. Exploring new places and different perspectives on life has always encouraged healing and growth for me, and I am glad that I finally mustered the motivation and courage to apply to a program that seemed like an impossibility for me due to financial constraints and my own self-doubt.

Traveling to an unknown place where I am surrounded by strangers is quite daunting at first, but it is also a freeing and transformative experience. I am rather shy; however, if you met me while I was traveling, you would probably think that I am a completely different person. There is a great power that comes with traveling, not only because the whole experience is thrilling and refreshing, but because the traveler has the ability to start over and determine who she wants to be. You are not tied down or stuck in your previous life, but instead you use your experience to do things differently.

I thrive while traveling alone because I am forced to step out of my comfort zone and to overcome my insecurities and anxieties. I am a very passive person, and I dread holding conversations with people that I do not know well. To be honest, if I had to choose to spend an hour talking with a person or an hour cuddling with an animal, I would choose the latter. I have too many insecurities about talking with people. Animals are great because I can truly reveal myself to them without fear or judgement. However, communication with people is an essential skill to have, and I want to be able to do it naturally and painlessly. Knowing that I need to advocate for myself and rely on strangers to survive in a new place gives me the courage I need to overcome my passiveness and to live in the moment and grow.

I talk about old habits and behavior like it is easy to change, but it isn’t. Change is difficult, and it requires a lot of patience and effort. There will be times during this trip where I will fail and other times where I won’t, but I am vowing to try to keep a positive outlook on my experiences, and to break out of my shell no matter how nervous or scared I am. The first step will be to use my nervous energy to trick my body into thinking that I am not actually nervous! How hard could it actually be (nervously questions myself)?

Thank you for reading this week’s blog, and I hope you continue to follow my transformation and experiences in Perú next week! ¡Nos vemos pronto!

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