A story of how one student overcame his fears about his stutter and gave himself the chance to become the leader he knew he could be.
Written by Godwill Ofori-Atuahene (2017; Ghana/CO)
When I hear the notes of my piano, I begin to listen to the story being told of every emotion from the sounds of each note. The story of how I rose and stood standing.
I remember the day I decided to take part in this exchange program. At that time, thoughts rushed through my mind, echoing my fears. Nervousness and shyness keep me captive. Upon finally deciding to let go and face my exchange year after the many orientations and obstacle courses, I just became someone else.
My mind was made up to always live every moment and experience everything before my year ends. I remember telling myself that everyone I meet, I will introduce myself to that person even when I don’t feel like it. At times, I felt stupid but I made myself understand that this is America, my year to experience and come out of my comfort zone and bring out the leader in me.
With every volunteering and school activity I was involved in, I made it a must to speak and interact with as many people as I can. Every conversation became an exam but I still pulled through. I had to forgo the mental restrictions that I stutter and start being me. I met lots of people and engaged well with all whom I met.
The words,” Now or never” made me realize that this is the time to be me and explore the many hidden treasures kept in me. I had to dig deep and find them. At the end of my year now, it’s hard to believe that I met all these wonderful Americans in my life. I never dreamed I would be popular and known by friends and others in America.
As I look back I realize that the only thing that kept me back was myself. After letting go and making good use of every opportunity, I can proudly say my exchange experience was a life changing experience and am glad I came. Who would have ever thought I would be so honored to reach such a high achievement of making such many connections. If I was told that this would happen to me last year by this time, I would have shaken my head in disbelief.
As I leave America, I leave with the story of how I discovered more of me after it had been covered. Being an exchange student helped me remove the veil covering these leadership skills.
Thank you World Link, for such an amazing year of encouragement and support. Each orientation gave me fresh oil to start and make a difference; from bonding with my family and learning how to be a team (first orientation), from accepting who you’re to understanding how the world is in terms of diversity (second orientation), and finally by ending the year strongly and proudly by doing everything you dreamed of, to learning how to make a difference back home.
As I go back, I am ready to go and influence my sphere of contact with the spirit of making the world a better place.
World Link would like to congratulate Godwill on being selected at the YES Program’s National April Student of the Month!