from Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Director of Diversity Recruiting & Advising
My curious daughter, I can't wait for you to meet the world. I hope you'll study abroad when you go to college. And, when you do, I have faith you'll examine everything the world has to offer, its lessons, its needs, and your history and place in it with reflection and a sense of wonder. And, know that no matter how the landscape appears, the world was molded by people who came before, and it can be remolded into something new – by you. And this world, right now, needs you more than ever.
The world has gifted me with lifetime bonds of friendship, career marketability, adventures, a daring spirit, and knowledge of cultures and languages I could only have dreamed of during childhood, as well as a pure love and respect for people of every race, religion, income, circumstance, and gender expression. Layla, the world has given me a greater passion for what it means to be human – all of the compassion, empathy, joy, self-confidence, generosity, and belonging. In fact, I didn’t really know I belonged until I met the world. She changed me.
"And, know that no matter how the landscape appears, the world was molded by people who came before, and it can be remolded into something new – by you. And this world, right now, needs you more than ever."
Thirty years ago, we introduced ourselves to one another, the world and I. And, she’s been my best friend since. And, so I tell you about her – so you’ll be eager to know her and love her as much, if not more, than I do.
I’m not stingy with my best friend, the world. She’s got more than enough love and adventure for all of us. We women are choosing to change the world, to impact her in ways she doesn’t yet know, yet she invites us with open arms to make her over in ways that will only make her, and us, better.
Despite how our own culture in the U.S. has socialized us, at times to doubt ourselves and our value, the world restores all of that and more. She envelops us and before we know it she instills a permanent force of Black Girl Magic on us that lifts our shoulders and straightens our backs. You see, the world knows who we are. We have a long and phenomenal history with her. As we explore the world, she reminds us of our worth, our beauty, our dynamism, and our power as women. She whispers, “you were my original child, out of Africa, with your dark hue and regal poise, and I chose you intentionally,” – and that is all we need to be strong, forever.
As songstress Jill Scott sings, “live your life like it's golden,” my sweet daughter. Study abroad. Open your mind and your eyes to all that lies ahead across its landscape. Embrace the world as she'll embrace you. Enjoy the journey. And, like our recent trip together to Paris, I can't wait to join you for parts of it.
Read more Letters from IES Abroad Moms.