From a GRSP Student's Perspective

... Valentina Barbarosa, Colombia, Class of 2015-16

Accepting the GRSP scholarship was a little hard at first because I didn't know what to expect from going to a small town. Of course, I've heard people talking about how great of an experience the GRSP year is, but all the people I've heard saying this attended schools in big cities. I was assigned to come to Georgia Southwestern, which is in a small town called Americus. I searched the internet for Americus, and I really couldn't find much... I could only find one picture, and it was from the Windsor Hotel. The first thing that came to my mind was "There's absolutely nothing to do here," but after talking with my friends that were in the program years before and meditating on my decision, I decided to come and live this experience. And honestly, I couldn't be happier I took this decision. My expectations weren't really that high, but every second I've been in the U.S., I've had the best time of my life.

I feel very lucky with the host families I have, which includes my trustee and his family. Every single one of them has treated me like a child of their own, are always looking out for me, and helping me whenever I need it. I've traveled with them and shared a lot of wonderful moments as well. They were the ones that made my process of adapting at the beginning of the year, way easier.

As a person, I feel as I've grown a lot since the year started. One of my main struggles before coming here was that I was very shy (I'm still a bit shy), but coming to a place where you know absolutely no one has helped me open up a lot. I also had a bit of a panic talking to big crowds, but having my rotary presentation to my 3 host clubs and having to play the guitar and sing for one of them helped me a little to get over this fear. I've also learned how to do things by myself now since this is the first time living apart from my parents. Things like cleaning my room, doing my laundry, running my own errands, etc. were things I wasn't used to before coming here. Now I can say with certainty that I won't die if I live by myself next year wherever life takes me.

I'm just very thankful with everyone that made this possible, and every Rotarian that was there for me during this year. Thank you all so much. I've had the best year of my life, and I will never forget this wonderful experience.

Keep making the world a better place :)

Posted by Lynn Clarke
February 5, 2018


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