This was the trip I realized, oddly enough, that I am doing what I love, right now, even though I’m not making a living off of it, yet, or doing it full- time. Traveling makes me feel free. It makes me feel like I am capable.

I am not a find-a-perfect-resort-next-to-the-beach kind of traveler. Give me culture, food, and people and put me in an unfamiliar place so I can make it a familiar place. Like I said in one of my feature stories, traveling has been a very intimate thing to me in my growth as a person.

I have learned the benefits and advantages of traveling with a group. Stepping outside my comfort zone and embracing the challenges that come up without notice. It was also a trip I had the chance to experience with my mom. This program gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to be able to find my way around Japan.

I think even if you don’t plan to work outside the U.S. or even plan to work within any international scope, studying abroad or just traveling is very important. You are going to come into contact with people from around the world every day of your life. Being able to be empathetic and understanding all starts with trying to understand and work with people that think differently and have different backgrounds.

There is no right or wrong way of being. We are different, and we should continue to embrace the things that make us different.

It was that decision I had made, to take a semester off of school to travel, that brought me to what I am studying now. And what ultimately brought me to this program. This has reassured me that I am on the right track of what I want to be doing after college. A million thanks to Dr. Martinez for seeing more in me than just a struggling student.

Our trip in a recap.

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