Our first summer trip is less than a month away! We are getting so excited, and we know you are, too.

The Go Global blog operates a little differently in the summer — we like to feature our students who are currently abroad, so we make student guest posts the focus of the site! Students will be assigned to complete one guest post while abroad (if you’re a student reading this, you’ll get more instructions when you arrive!), and our staff will publish the post to the blog.

Our students have the option to choose between several writing formats, and one of these formats  is a memoir. Kara Neesen, 2014 LEAD Cape Town student and Community Leader, has written an awesome memoir for us from her trip as an example of how this summer’s students should expect to construct their blog posts. Actually…you’ll be seeing another post from Kara this summer, as she is one of our 2015 Greece Direct students 🙂

Why Now, More Than Ever, Is The Perfect Time To Face Your Fears
By: Kara Neesen

“Everyone has that special list of things they want to accomplish in their lifetime, but sometimes that list can be daunting. Facing your fears is one of the greatest ways to grow and learn about yourself. Heights are my biggest fear, and they always have been; However, I wanted to dive right in (literally) and face my fears head on.

I always knew that going on LEAD Cape Town was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity because the program is so encompassing. You get the best of everything: adventure, culture, diplomacy, education and service. I knew that I was going to be challenged here to go outside of my comfort zone, and this exhilarated me. I was ready to face my fears.

Before Cape Town, I always told myself I would never bungee jump. Ever. But then I got to Cape Town, and everything changed. Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa is known for being the highest commercial bungee bridge in the world so I knew that there was no better place to face my fear than here. I had to do it, or else I would regret it. I was really going for it.

Our adventure week wasn’t until the fourth week of our program, so I had plenty of time to prepare myself. I thought about it nonstop and had this image of me jumping off the bridge replaying in my head continuously. I felt so many emotions: I was excited and scared, but I knew I was ready.

The weeks leading up to adventure week opened my eyes to so much more. I had accomplished so much in the meantime. I climbed to the top of Table Mountain, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, rode an elephant, did service in Sir Lowry’s Pass, a small township outside of the city, and made some of the best friends in my life.

Everyone in my small group for adventure week made a pact to all do the bungee jump. Together, we were going to make it happen. I will admit, the nerves set in once I saw the bridge, but I knew that wasn’t going to stop me. The atmosphere on the bridge was incredible. There was a DJ playing great music and keeping the mood upbeat. Everyone was dancing and singing along to the music.

Each jumper was given a number, and randomly, you were called when it was your turn to jump. I still remember the moment my number was called. Everyone was cheering and chanting my name. Because of them, I felt unstoppable. All my friends believed in me. I remember thinking to myself “This is it. I am doing it.”

I was clipped in around my feet and brought to the edge of the bridge. In that moment, I felt rather calm and at ease. This had been the moment I was waiting for. I had been thinking about it for so long, and now it was finally here.

I swan dove off the bridge and out over the Bloukrans River. As I was swinging, I had never felt so at peace. It was incredible. As I came back to the platform, everyone was so excited for me. I felt on top of the world. My first thought was: ‘why had I been so scared to do this in the first place?’ It wasn’t as bad or scary as I had imagined it to be. It is important to not limit your potential or turn yourself away from things just because you are too scared. There are always friends who will support you, and in my case, be there to jump with you. I knew that if I could do this, I could do anything. Ironically, the next day I went skydiving.

One quote that became my mantra after the bungee jump and still rings true today is from Neale Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I learned this in Cape Town and use it as a daily reminder to keep challenging myself. Cape Town was only the beginning to a bucket list of adventure. No matter what you want to accomplish, big or small, exciting or scary, now is the time to get out there and do it. I am forever grateful for LEAD Cape Town and all the friends I made there for challenging and supporting me to face my fears and to gain confidence in myself to accomplish any goal to which I set my mind.”

What will you write your student guest post about this summer? The possibilities are endless…your adventure awaits!

-Anna and the Go Global team