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Taking a Step Out of the Box in New York City

By: Dayan Carolina Pita Garcìa, Summer Work Travel Participant 

Every adventure starts with taking one step out of your home, the risk of the unknown, and exploring new places. To get out of my comfort zone, I dared myself to explore a different country and learn about what it offers. I knew that after I took that first step, a different language, different types of people, many kinds of food, lots of costumes, and a huge culture would be waiting for me. 

“Welcome to New York! This is the Bayhouse. This will be your room, you can put your things over here. See you soon for the training.”  

This was the beginning of everything. As I listened to those words, many thoughts, nerves, and a lot of anxiety were standing right there next to me. But in the blink of an eye, I had gone from being a beginner who didn’t know how to take orders on a tablet, to a waitress with 10 tables at the same time. 

Not only did I reconcile a lot of misconceptions I had about America, but I helped other people clear up their own misconceptions about my country. “Where are you from?” people would ask. “Colombia!” I would answer, feeling proud of the beautiful country where I was born. “Oh, the country of Pablo Escobar, with lots of drugs and violence,” they would say with a laugh. “No!” I always answered them, “That’s just what you hear in the news and see in the newspapers. There is so much more to my country than that.” 

It was gratifying to have the chance to show people that there are many positive things about my country. Colombia is one of the only Latin American countries that has many Nobel prize winners in peace and literature. We have huge fields of fauna and flora. We stand out for having a lot of talented athletes, and we always achieve many Olympic medals.  

One of the highlights of my summer was my visit to the UN in Manhattan. In the middle of my weekly routine, I got the invitation to go, and immediately reserved a spot. As an international business student, this opportunity was very important to me. My visit to the UN was a perfect example of how my time in New York has strengthened my worldwide knowledge and empowered my vision of international affairs. 

After visiting the UN, I truly understood that my obligation was to show people the reality of my country: the wonderful parts that are not talked about, the faces that few people know, the beauty that not many people get to see. By starting small and changing the representation of my country, I am confident that I can someday make worldwide changes. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been in a place where global issues are discussed and where important opinions are debated. My experiences this summer have given me an impulse to continue working towards equality, even if it means starting small in my own country, and hopefully one day, changing the world.  

To pave your own path to a successful career in international affairs… visit our site to learn more about Greenheart Exchange’s Summer Work Travel program 

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