In many of my internationally focused classes, public speaking and clear, concise writing were some of the most important skills we needed to learn. Because of these experiences, I can confidently give a speech and write ten-page papers in two languages.
As I worked for the UF International Center as its social media intern, I gained confidence in myself and my ability to pitch and bring ideas to fruition. I had the idea to start a podcast, and that idea, and the willingness of my boss to allow me to exercise leadership, helped me realize I can do hard things.
After taking more than three semesters of Spanish classes, I am confident in my ability to navigate that cultural context. But, through my other coursework, like international public relations, I know how to begin to navigate cultural contexts with which I am not yet familiar, too.
One of the best things language classes taught me, besides another language, is how to read between the lines and get the whole context of a situation, even when I can only actually understand a small part of the context. So often we just to do that best we can with the information we have, and I feel like I have a firm grasp on how to problem solve my way into the information I need.
When you believe in yourself, everything is just a little bit easier. While I am often anxious about things going wrong, my international experiences have helped me be more resilient in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations because I know I can be confident in my abilities. I can just remind myself that I have done hard things before, and I can do them again.
Living abroad in a country I have never been to, with people who speak a language I do not yet speak, has given me so much compassion for people who come to the United States by themselves and adjust to such a different culture and way of life. Because I know how it feels for everything to be confusing, and for every time I leave the house to be draining in its unfamiliarity, I am patient and understanding when I meet people from different countries in the U.S.