It is said that 90% of the population is and will always be in its comfort zone. Maria says she used to be inside this massive percentage. However, she lived her experience with AIESEC by giving Spanish and English classes in a public school in Natal, Brazil, under the name of X4CHANGE. She can now say that she no longer lives in this bubble called “the comfort zone”.

I want to show you, the magnitude to which I was shaped during my experience, as visually as possible. During my experience I wrote a diary explaining everything that happened to me. From before my experience started, to after it already ended. And that is exactly what I would like to share with you.  As you read, I want you to keep in mind one quote, that sums up my experience. And if you apply this quote to your life, I can reassure you that you things in your life will change for better:

 

“Everything you ever wanted is just one step outside your comfort zone.”


Before my experience

“What were you thinking Maria?” I’m saying to myself “You are in an airplane that’s taking you to the other side of the world. Once you arrive in Brazil you will have to teach two languages to children who only speak Portuguese.” Things could go well, but what if that’s not the case? What if I get there and see that I’ve made a big mistake? What if I do not get along with the other volunteers? or the school? or the host family? What if I don’t like food? Will it really be worth it?

Whatever happens,

Brazil, here I come!


After the experience

I left for Brazil feeling alone, excited and frightened all at the same time. When I arrived there, I decided to throw away all my fears and insecurities.

On this journey, the verbs “to laugh” and  “to cry” have lived together in harmony.
I made precious friendships and with them, together, discovered the Brazilian culture. At the same time, we’ve explored each others cultures, music, food and other of their native countries.

I lived with a family built on love and smiles. When I left them, I felt as though like I would never be able to thank them enough for everything they have done for me.

No only did I teach, I also received an abundance of learnings in return. More than I could have ever imagined

I learned to value my origins and to love different cultures. Here I realised how the simple act of putting on my shoes every day and leaving, although not always knowing where I was going or what I would find, improved my life.”

I learned and saw new things, and my mind slowly opened up and eliminated the useless prejudices and expectations before replacing them with beautiful memories that will always remain in my heart.

I have grown, changed, and found a smile on myself that I had not seen for a long time.
And for this gift that life has given to me, I am grateful.

This is what happened to me when I took that one step out of my comfort zone. That step out of the 90%. I found everything I ever wanted.  For those of you courageous individuals living in the 10%, don’t stop taking those steps. And when you do, make sure to share your story! For those of you living in that 90%, I hope that you can live an experience like me, that will change your perspective on everything. Reading a story about someone who lived an experience is one thing, but writing your own story…Well, there isn’t anything quite like that.

 

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