Inspiring Individuals: Ana the international student
McKenna explains why she's proud to call Ana her inspiring friend.
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"No time is wasted in complaining or wallowing away when something doesn't go as planned."
Waiting at a light to cross the street in Dublin, I hear four different languages being spoken. Walking along I smell the food of six ethnicities along a single block. Dublin is undeniably a multicultural city. However, it is still an alien world to the busy streets of Caracas, Venezuela.
Growing up Ana knew she would be leaving her beloved Venezuela for university. Rather than enjoying the beaches and sun in the summers with her friends and family, she chose to go to summer school in the United States to learn English and prepare for her international future.
Even though English was not spoken at home, Ana made it a priority to learn the language that would someday secure her acceptance into her top university. In the final years of high school, Ana participated in the IB (International Bachelorette) program to prepare for her upcoming move to an English-speaking country.
When Ana finally received the email with her acceptance into her top university, she was so excited that she did not bother fully reading the letter at first. It wasn't until a few hours later that she discovered her admittance required her to spend her first semester abroad.
I always found this concept to be pretty amusing - an international student... Studying abroad! Forget the worries and expectations that were built up for years about moving to the United States, now Ana would be studying in a different foreign country before even visiting her university's campus.
I could go on about Ana's admirable courage in leaving her comfort zone back in Venezuela and tackling both a new challenge and country, but her attitude is what continues to surprise me everyday.
Her positivity is truly contagious. No time is wasted in complaining or wallowing away when something doesn't go as planned. Even as her country continues to experience harsh economic times and poor government leadership, she maintains a vision of returning to Venezuela in the future to make it a more economically stable and safe place to live.
She shares stories about the protests and shortage of necessities, and the history of the chaos to promote awareness of the current situation. The thousands of miles between her home in Venezuela and her home in Dublin seem to only strengthen her commitment to helping those suffering from mistreatment by the government.
Every day her passion for her country inspires me to become more involved and aware of the world around me. I am privileged to call this inspirational young woman my friend.