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A dream achieved: A Scholarship in the US

Remember when you were a kid and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I would always reply with a verb: Travel. Now, is that a profession? Unfortunately not. Eventually, I got into high school and there would always be a class where they would ask how or where you saw yourself in 5 or 10 years. I couldn’t figure out a possible answer. I knew I wanted to travel; by that time I also knew English was going to be essential to achieve my dream but I didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to be or how to fulfill my expectations. Finally, I made up my mind and decided to get my degree in teaching English as a second language, just because I liked the language.

As time went by, I actually discovered I liked teaching but I needed something else. I don’t remember when I started looking for scholarships but I’m sure my motivation was my consuming desire for travelling. I remember coming across the Fulbright scholarship years before I decided to apply for it. In the meantime I started working and got my degree. Years went by and I was not making any progress in achieving my dream or at least I thought not. My working hours increased, I became a member of APIBB committee and attended every possible course or workshop related to my field.

When I was at FAAPI 2008, which was held in Santiago del Estero, I came across a handout inviting people to apply for the Fulbright scholarship. I remembered I had already heard about it and did some research on it. It would certainly meet all my expectations. It was great, almost too perfect. I didn’t apply. Why?? I don’t know. Lack of confidence, fear, procrastination, you name it. The clock was ticking, the age limit was 29, but apparently I felt very young at 26.

Another year went by and the organization of FAAPI’s annual conference fell into APIBB’s hands. Fortune made me the person in charge of picking up the president of Fulbright Argentina and her guest speaker for dinner. Guess who told me I had the right profile for the scholarship? Yes! The very president of Fulbright Argentina (was that a sign, or what?!) So, as soon as the congress finished, which was exhausting by the way, I filled in all the paperwork so confidently that I actually never thought a “No” could be a reply. Of course, I was so full with excitement I told everybody about it. I made it to the interview in Buenos Aires and I was so sure that spot was mine. Well, the next day I got a kind e-mail saying that I had NOT been chosen. Apparently, people can say “No” no matter how confident you are. It was disheartening. I cried the whole day. It was helpful to have  a wedding reception with an open bar that night ;)

The next year arrived, together with my last chance to apply! I must say, I wasn’t sure about doing it, I was afraid of my possible reaction if I didn’t get the scholarship. I applied anyway but with a more “I don’t care attitude”. Nobody knew this time. I got the interview, passed it, started filling out forms, took the TOEFL exam… all with my lips sealed. I was so scared of waking up from my dream. Finally, I got the e-mail confirming I was going to spend a scholar year in a college in the US.

Yesterday, after spending seven months in a college near Boston, I got my departure form and I must say it has been: AWESOME! If I have to regret something is the fact I didn’t apply when I first heard about the scholarship. I know many people say: “Things come in the right time”, but although in some cases I agree with the idea that “it’s never too late” in this case I would say that it’s never too soon.

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