from Kristi Derkacy, Executive Assistant to the CIO
To my Son:
Your eyes are wide, your thoughts are many. You dream of mythical creatures, of flight, of far off lands and imaginary people.
As you grow and begin to understand your world better, I will encourage you to ground your imagination in the cultures of your city, country, and beyond. Other worlds, new words and meanings, different stories—these things are not only reserved for books, but also exist in realities that parallel the one in which you live.
You are a dual citizen; German born, American raised, but a heritage speaker of the German language. You have a duty to yourself, your family abroad, and to your bi-nationalism to understand your world in both languages and within the borders of both countries. You will realize what a privilege it is to be a member of the international community, your language skills will develop, you will be able to express yourself to many audiences, and your thoughts, understanding, and worldview will grow to accommodate the interactions that will shape your life.
"With humility, you will realize how important it is to embrace people as they are. There is not one way, but many."
Your extroverted, charming little personality will flourish under the influence of travel and immersion in study of people, places, and ideas. It will lead you into the hearts and minds of many individuals and groups who are similar, or quite different. They will appreciate the color and empathy you bring, and you will appreciate them for these reasons as well.
Living and learning abroad is both a privilege and necessity. Privilege because it will empower you to accept and love others, just as they are, with all of their many and different ways; things or ideas that may seem idiosyncratic will appear perfectly normal in the right context. And it is a privilege to not only glimpse these things in action, but to also share in the understanding of what they mean to people who live them out on a daily basis. Necessity comes with the due diligence that you owe to humanity. You are one, but you are capable of touching all with whom you come into contact. With humility, you will realize how important it is to embrace people as they are. There is not one way, but many. As a person, as a young man, as a soul among the multitude, you will find your place as you wander the world and open your heart to the education that people and their stories and journeys can provide.
May your love for adventure, your open heart, and your desire for knowledge always prevail.
Read more Letters from IES Abroad Moms.