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Citizen of the world 2017

A place I’ll never forget

Indaiá Lara Gehlen

United States

I was born and raised in a smal town in south Brazil. I always wanted to study abroad, since I was a child. When I was twelve year old I had cancer, and it just changed my entire away of seeing life. After my disease, my desire to go to another country just got bigger because i realized how short life really is and how much we have to know in this world. When I was in my second year of college, i applied to an schoolarship in the Unitad Stated of America, to sutudy one year of my major(Materials Engineering) there and to work as an intern for two months. My family and friend didn´t really beliave i have the chance. My family never had money, so for us it was a new thing someone going to study abroad. I got my schoolarship when I was nineteen years old and I went to Tucson, in Arizona. I thing there is three or four moments in your life that changes everything forever, and the moment i got this schoolarship was one of them. In my city, people are really reacist and homofobic. They think that people who have money are better then those who don´t. And i was raised listening to this kind of stuff. I started to live with people of many and many countries. Here in my reagion, people use to jugde other people if they are different. There, i saw that different is the normal. It would be so boring if everyone think and live in the same away, don´t you think? I made friends that have differents cultures and choices of life than me, and it was amazing. I lived with people that was raised in a really different way then i was, and they were great. I opened my mind and saw that we don´t know nothing about anything. We live in a really smal part of the world and we have so so many to see and know. After my year in arizona I went to do an intership in Chicago, Illinois. It was another amazing experience. I started to think that people in my country really need to start to open their eyes and see that they don´t know everyone and everything like they think. They need to see that they must respect every person for who they are, no matter how they are or where they come from. I have an tatto of arizona, to remind me every day that the world is what we want to see. I thing that
if your eyes are good, you will be an iluminated person and will be able to help other people to see the things in the same way as you do.
I saw with my year abroad that the more we know, more we see that we don´t know nothing and we have to keep our minds open and learn from anyone and anything.

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