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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Intro

Hi there! I’m so excited to travel with you all.

After attending high school in beautiful Sydney, Australia, I’ve just moved back to the little town near Philadelphia that I was born and raised in. And when I say “just,” I mean, like, yesterday! It’s good to be off the plane. 🙂 I’m nineteen, I love to read, and my Spanish is terrible.

But what’s more important (hopefully) is that I’m psyched for this trip! I’ve been fortunate enough to tour and trek around a few really beautiful places–many unique to Oceania–and every time, the experience has taught me more than any classroom could. I’m really looking forward to some serene nature, some Spanish practice, some new foods, and a fresh chance to engage with the unfamiliar. Most importantly, I’m hoping to learn more about people: myself, my community, and the communities beyond my door. How can we engage mindfully with one another? How can we translate unique experiences? As a future art history and literature major, the pursuit of these questions totally inspires me.

Moreover, Andes to Amazon has pretty good timing! I’ve just finished applying to U.K. and U.S. universities–since high school in Australia ends in November–and these next couple of months will hopefully be a good chance to find my feet in this crazy world. Through my high school, I received my International Baccalaureate Diploma, which was a) a huge relief and b) two years of chaos, so my family is also viewing this trip as a way to re-integrate me into society. So far, you all seem awesome, so I think we’re on the right track. 😉

About the picture: This was taken at Cremorne Point in Sydney, where my friend and I discovered a rock formation with holes big enough to stand in! We had a blast taking ridiculous pictures while onlookers gave us the side-eye. Also, if you look over my shoulders, you can see some cool architectural icons, like the Opera House. Needless to say, I think it’s pretty indicative of who I am and what I love.

I think that’s everything I can think of for now. But until we meet face-to-face, feel free to reach out and say hello! Honestly, I’m terrible at packing, so some co-lab would not be remiss.

See you soon!

Leila