In November I had the pleasure of brainstorming with CIEE (Council for International Educational Exchange) students about their transition from their hometowns and universities in the United States to the Dominican Republic. What stood out the most was their ability to find similarities, moments and comforts outside of their homes that allowed them to appreciate studying abroad and speaking and being challenged by Spanish. The life style differences, although “chocante”, once reflected upon, created an opportunity to analyze who they are in their own communities and globally. The experience made clear how we can continue to find similarities and empathy in all our stories and that such experiences enhance our growth.
I thank CIEE Director, Tian Song for the opportunity to translate these amazing perspectives into an image that hundreds of CIEE study abroad staff and students can enjoy and reflect upon.