from Amy Ruhter McMillan, Associate Vice President of Marketing
Dear Sean & Ava,
This Mother’s Day, you are 13- and 12-years-old.
Today I’m thinking about how I’m going to blink and you are going to be off to college, finding your own way in the world. I have the feeling it is going to be much harder than I expect to watch you go.
My hope for you is that you will always see the world as small. Since you were little, this has been what we wished for you. We save our money not for things, but for experiences—to take you to places like Budapest, Mexico, England, Scotland, and France (so far!). Because thinking the world is small and knowing it are two very different things.
And by small, I want you to know that the world is open to you. That your boundaries are flexible, never fixed. And because you are already studying a language, you know that a smile can bridge any language gap. I’ve seen you do it. You also know that Google Maps work almost everywhere, so getting lost is a little bit harder than it used to be. But getting lost is sometimes the best part of the adventure.
"This is also why I can’t wait for you to study abroad. As you are pushed out of your comfort zone while you live your life in another place, you will see yourself more clearly."
This is also why I can’t wait for you to study abroad. As you are pushed out of your comfort zone while you live your life in another place, you will see yourself more clearly. A mirror will be held up to your own country and the new one you will call home. It might not always be easy or perfect (it may even be quite messy), and your opinions may shift. But that’s okay. I’ll come visit and will be so proud as you show off your new home, take me to your favorite restaurants, and introduce me to all the new people in your life. You will make lifelong friends or perhaps even meet someone you fall in love with (like Dad and I!).
And finally, I challenge you to find your way, big or small, to make an impact. To volunteer or help cure or think of solutions or provide support. Because you have a responsibility to give back something of what you have been given and learned—global citizenship must be a circle.
You may learn things about yourself when you study abroad that impact the whole trajectory of your life—where you live, what you do, who you are. I can’t wait to watch your adventures unfold, wherever you go.
Because over and over again, the world will prove to you she is small, and I want you to be brave enough to go for it.
Read more Letters from IES Abroad Moms.