Farewell Journal

My Inspiration and Motivation

 

Abstract:  As my journey comes to an end, I touch upon who keeps me motivated and supports me when I’m struggling, both while I was in Jordan and in everyday life. Who inspires you?  

Julia 1

Some of the other students who went through the same challenges and struggles as I did

My study abroad experience in Jordan was an incredible four months and I was sad to leave. I have so many good memories from floating in the Dead Sea to riding a camel in Wadi Rum. My study abroad experience would not have been possible without my motivation and dream to live in a different country.

I have always been fascinated by the Islamic societies found in the Middle East especially after reading The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky, which I have previously mentioned. However, books will only get you so far; reading a book about a culture is nothing compared to actually living there. I was motivated to study abroad because I knew the best way to learn about the Middle East, and about Jordan, was to live there.

While I was abroad, I faced many obstacles. I had to adjust to a culture very different than the one I was used to. I had to dress differently, speak in a new language and make new friends. It was a challenge. But I also knew there were other students who were experiencing the same things I was. They were also adjusting to Jordanian culture. I also knew there were hundreds of other students who had completed the program before me and were perfectly fine. Having other people with me definitely helped me through my study abroad experience. Those people motivate me and support me when I may be struggling. Do you support and encourage your friends?

I also have several people who I look up to and inspire me every day. One of them is well known: Josh Sundquist. Josh Sundquist is an inspirational speaker and the author of a national bestseller, Just Don’t Fall. He lost his left leg to cancer when he was nine, has skied in the 2006 Torino Paralympics for Team USA, and has the best outlook on life. I am fortunate to have both of my legs, unlike Josh.

Julia 2

I met Josh Sundquist randomly walking around DC one day!

When I come across a challenge, I just think of how lucky I am to have the opportunity for that challenge. For example, in Jordan, I struggled to learn the colloquial language. But that “problem” is something that many children would love to have because they might not be able to learn Arabic at all. Many people don’t have the same opportunities that we have in the United States. Josh Sundquist reminds me to be grateful for what I have.

Someone else I look up to is a woman named Kathy Werst. I call her my second mother because she looks after me as much as my own mom does. She is one of my mom’s best friends. Do you know the expression “when life throws you lemons make lemonade”? It means to make the best out of a bad or challenging situation. Kathy has had lots of lemons thrown at her in life. She is deaf in one ear as a result of a car accident. She also lost a finger due to a shopping accident. She recently lost one of her best friends to cancer. What amazes me is how she always keeps going. She’s like the Energizer bunny. No matter what has happened, she always tries to look on the bright side. I admire her courage and ability to do that. She inspires me to do the same in my life.

Josh and Kathy inspire me every day, not just when I was in Jordan. I think it’s great to have people you can look up to and who inspire you. I hope I have been able to inspire you with my articles. I have loved writing for you and it was great to meet you! Hearing you say “I want to go to Jordan” or “I want to float in the Dead Sea” was fantastic. Having a goal like that is wonderful. The great thing is, it is achievable. Maybe not right now in the 4th grade, but perhaps in high school or college or even after college. There are so many opportunities available to you. Sometimes, you just have to look carefully or ask someone. You’d be surprised what some people know. I encourage you all to follow your dreams and I hope you have enjoyed following my journey to Jordan.

Love,

Julia

Julia 3

Always reach for your goals and never stop exploring!

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