Hey everyone, my name is Gabriel Vera and I am from the small island of Puerto Rico. If you are unaware of what Puerto Rico is, it is a US territory which earlier this year made headline news with category five hurricane, Hurricane Maria. Or maybe Jennifer Lopez, Lin Manuel Miranda, Ricky Martin, or Roberto Clemente might ring a bell? Other than being prone to tropical storms and being the home of many talented celebrities, my home of Puerto Rico is very rich in culture, tying in American views with Latino and Caribbean influences.
Due to this fact I am bilingual, knowing to speak fluently both Spanish and English. Puerto Rican culture is very rich and complex but I have listed some pictures to help you best understand. As you can probably tell being Puerto Rican is very important to me and a big part of my identity. Because of this I decided that I wanted to go on a foreign exchange, wanting to share my culture with others. Once I came to hands with the CBYX program it was like love at first sight. I was amazed on how this program sends students from diverse backgrounds of the US to most accurately represent our country abroad. Also, being from an island you can sometimes feel isolated from foreign influences such as Europe which from an early age I have always dreamed of visiting. Finding and being able to share your own motivation for applying to this scholarship will help you stand out in the admission process (more on this on a future post). Also find ways to put your goal into reality. For example, once in Germany I hope to give English and Spanish classes to help teach about my country and I.
After being accepted to the program I am now one step closer to accomplishing my goal. I still know very little German but I am working my best to help learn as much as I can before my departure in August. It still doesn’t feel real and I sometimes forget that in a few months I will be leaving to Germany to live abroad for ten months.
Yesterday was my schools Senior Exit for the Class of 2018 (some pictures down below) and it meant that my class are now the new seniors, the Class of 2019. Being the last day of school I had a couple of my friends emotional over me leaving on my senior year. Even though I will not be able to be a part of my Senior Entrance, graduation, or prom, I still didn’t feel sad or experience any FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I’m still oblivious to the fact that I’m leaving or whether I am just too excited to get to know my Germany and all the people and experiences it has in store for me. I am also slightly overwhelmed on all the work I have to complete this summer to be able to go on the exchange. This summer I am taking six credits to complete my senior year to be able to graduate and as well a few credits from a local university. In addition to this I have to work on all my university applications and have everything ready by August 1st (the day Common App portal opens as well as the day before my departure on the program) to be able submit them early action. Overall, I am sure all the hard work that is going into this exchange will be worth it and will make for an unforgettable year!