by Christopher Ross Yap

Millions of youth in the Philippines dream of traveling the world. Thousands consider becoming an exchange student. Hundreds took a shot at becoming one, but only a few deserving ones were able to make it. In order to become an exchange student, one must have the guts to embrace change within one’s self. One must also develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to become an ambassador of change.

Before I can go on board with my new journey, I must start immersing myself into the real world by attending the pre-departure orientation. Days before the orientation, I was busy worrying about myself since I will be flying for the first time alone. During the flight, I wasn’t nervous anymore since I was able to go through it successfully. When I arrived at Manila, I felt the excitement coursing through me knowing that I will have the opportunity to build new friendships with new people. During the orientation, we were trained on how to deal with different kinds of situations, rules as well as the other things needed to be discussed before we leave the country. Surprisingly, we connected with each other very well even though we only got to know each other for only a day and a half. I guess being able to relate similar experiences and sharing our differences strengthened our bond with one another. It made us all feel special in different ways that also touch the inside of our hearts. When the orientation has come to an end, I realized that people are sunlight and rain while the world is like a tree. It may sound contradicting, however; they were able to contribute to trees that are essential in order for a plant to grow. Eventually, it will bear fruits when enough sunlight and water is given.

As an exchange student, I must be an advocate of goodwill. I must take the the importance of balance seriously in order to achieve my goals. Everyone is different, but in a way, we do complement each other. Just like positive and negative polars, they are opposite but still, they do go together. Our uniqueness can bring us the unity we’ve been longing for by connecting ourselves with one another. I’m encouraging others to partake in our journey as we connect the world together and aspire to make the world reach new heights it never reached.