Lebanon: Reflections from GCC Leader Natalia
My experience with Mercy Corps started very quickly and without any second thoughts. It was weird for me at first, because I did not hesitate at all to apply, knowing that I am a Hotel Management student, and I practically have nothing to do with leadership. However, this is definitely wrong. Because, I, and all of us need a program like the one that GCC offers. Why? I will give you my personal experience.
First of all, it grew my self-confidence: to be able to run a class of students all by yourself, to present and run a project, to make a presentation in front of lots of people.
Second, it teaches you how to be a leader in your community, how to take action, how to make changes, how to help others make changes.
Third, we usually live in a bubbled environment, surrounded by the people we only know, we only like, who have the same customs and traditions as us. However, GCC gave me the opportunity to enlarge my social network, my community, by discovering that there are other people in the same country as I am, who have other values, and other traditions; but who aim for the same goal as I do: peace, changes for a better world. Sometimes we think that we know everything in this world, by only living in a small town; when actually, you grow better and wiser by seeing other towns, by opening up your eyes on the real world and on its difficulties.
Fourth, it made me become more open-minded and to accept others, no matter what their social status is, or their skin color, or their financial outcome. It made me see how many common things we share. Eventually, we are all humans.
Fifth, it made me realize how many prejudgments are stuck in our minds, made by the media, or by the older people we talk with. However, those are fallacies in our heads. And we only need to go and see with our own eyes and experience in order to wake up to the reality of this world.
In other words, Mercy Corps’ program helped me on the personal level : socialize with people who are somehow different than me, feel that I am somehow useful in my life and in my country (by knowing I can actually offer them something with the little that I have), feel loved and lovable by the students I taught, get to meet students who have the same dream as me (to become leaders in their society), be able to see new sights and cities of my country (to see some other sides of it too).
I want to deeply thank Mercy Corps Lebanon and GCC for offering us this opportunity. I am definitely looking forward to apply to future programs.