As we move on to Cartagena, I keep looking back and thinking about my time in Cali. The experience was so eye opening. I’ve learned so much not only about the culture in Cali but myself as well. The day I left the United States, I remember being so scared to leave my family and the ways of life that I was familiar with. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to communicate with anyone in Colombia or if I would feel like a total outcast in a city that was way too different than my own.
However, through this city I’ve gained so much. Not only can I salsa (okay kind of), but I actually have the confidence to get up in front of a room and dance. I’ve learned that maybe I need to slow my life down and enjoy things more. In Cali, it felt like nobody was in a rush to do anything and it was so relaxing. I felt like I could just sit or walk and take everything in and I hope I can apply this to my life in the United States. The people here were so proud of their city and their country, which made me reflect on my own city and country. Why do we not show this much affection for our own country? I think we all need to take more time to appreciate what we have, and fight for what we lack. In Colombia there are students who strike for educational rights, and political graffiti everywhere stating grievances about healthcare. Many students and people in the U.S don’t do anything like this. But why? Do we not care enough? Are we just that satisfied with everything in our country? And if not why don’t we do something about it?
I’ve learned that I want to help more people. When we visited colegio Bennett, I wished all of those students who wanted to go to school in the United States could. Their excitement about college in the U.S made me realize how lucky we are at home and the education we are able to receive. Being at Fundación able was also very impactful. I feel like we need to come together and care for one another more often.
I’ve learned new vocabulary and have gained a lot of confidence in my spanish, even though sometimes it’s hard understanding the different dialects. The last day, when Professor Montoya and her family threw us a birthday party, I realized I felt the same way as I did when I left the United States. I was scared to go onto the next city without my new Colombian family. They made me feel so welcomed and did so much for all of us that it was hard to leave and go on without them. I feel like I belong in that city, and I hope someday I can return for a much longer stay.