A year ago, I founded Castle InterProgram and a year later, I asked myself what on earth was I thinking? I have always been ambitious but turning my passion into a business was never part of my plan and the hardest thing I have ever done. It is a dream that is bigger than myself. There is nothing easy about starting a business from scratch. I just knew that I had a dream and I was going to make it a reality no matter what. So, what was I thinking a year ago? What drove me to start this company?
A few days ago, I received two emails, one from a friend in Australia and the other one from a friend in China. My friend in Australia described the horrible reality of the damages done by the fire that has been raging for months. His email brought a better understanding of the devastation the fire has caused and the heart wrenching pain of loosing so many animals and plants and putting the identity of his country at stake. As for my friend in China, the coronavirus has isolated her from friends and family and completely altered her daily life. Both emails were very emotional to read. As I sympathized in the pain of my friends, I had only one wish, it’s that one day Castle InterProgram will become a platform that brings the world closer together. That, my friend, is what propels me.
It all started during my time abroad and being grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad. For two years, I was able to build invaluable relationships with people from all over the world. My experience with a different culture permits me to expend my worldview and cultivate a cross-cultural awareness. My experiences, principles, and cultural backgrounds influence my viewpoints. I am proud to say because of my time abroad, I’m more cognizant of other’s perspectives.
Living in France for two years connected me with the rest of the world in a way that’s difficult to achieve from home. I have learned how people from other cultures think and feel on an individual level. My understanding of global issues has deepened and I have a better understanding of how events in the world affect countries around the world. Stories in the news (like the fire in Australia, the Coronavirus in China and the chaos in Haiti) about other countries that appeared foreign and far-off now feel more personal. I have connections in each of these countries. The process of connecting to foreign countries and fabricating empathy with people from other cultures made me a better global citizen, which is an imperative part of living in a global society. When things are hard, I then remind myself God didn’t ask me to start this company for me, but rather for the many students Castle InterProgram will help become better global citizens. The sacrifices that I make every day for this company will one day help someone, to me that’s a worthy cause.