When I was preparing to come for my year in Georgia, I knew this was going to be one of the biggest stepping stones in my life, and that made me tremble. I came with a lot of expectations, anxiety, and questions, but also with an open mind, open to new experiences. When I look back, I realize what this stepping stone means in the scope of my whole life. This makes me smile.
I have gained a lot. I have had the unique experience of living on an American college campus with American students (and soldiers). I have expanded my knowledge in Business and of the American culture. But there are two things that had the biggest effect on me:
The marvelous possibility of meeting and getting to know other GRSP students from all over the world. I realize now, more than ever, how valuable it is to understand that diversity is important and that peace is possible. Imagine if we were all the same. Imagine if we agreed about politics, religion and morality. Imagine if we all liked the same types of music, art, food and coffee. Imagine if we all looked alike. Sound boring? Differences need not divide us. Diversity is exciting, interesting, different and new all the time. Differences in religion, culture, politics, and education are ways to make us know each other and enjoy life. Diversity is a way to bring the nations together and make this world a place of peace. Peace is possible! And dignity is every human’s right!
The second most important change in my life is that after being a GRSP student and noticing how the GRSP program contributes to peace by bringing the nations together through the Rotary Clubs, I want to continue being a part of this. In the future, I want to be a Rotary member. I want to help my community and I want to keep promoting the GRSP program.Another important thing that I do not want to forget is to say how grateful I am to my host families and my Rotary Club. I missed my own family a lot, but the Rices and the Duncans made me feel at home all the time. They gave me love; they spoiled me and supported me all the time, just as my own family would. There were constantly there for me, and I could not have made it without them.
I want to thank the GRSP program, all the Rotarians who made this possible, and all of the GRSP students. I also want to thank the Forsyth Rotary Club and my trustee, Mike Sweigart and his family. And most importantly, I want to thank my family in Argentina, all of whom have supported me during my time here.
Leila Fleita Zain
Class of 2005 – 2006