I am really glad to be the first one writing my story in this section. When Rafa talked to me about it, I instantly accepted to share my own inspiring story, especially because he is also a model of inspiration for me (yeah, I know he’s a clown, but…)
Well, first of all, let me introduce myself. My name is David Díaz, I am 25 y.o. and I have just finished my studies at University of Cantabria.
My story started when I decided to spend a whole year like an Erasmus student in Warsaw, Poland. Before this moment, I always had been a dependent person. Dependent on my parents, friends, girlfriend….always needing the support of “my people” close to me. Since I broke up with my girlfriend, I decided to leave the routine here and start an adventure. I considered myself a shy person, so it was a kind of big challenge for me. (I don’t want to be boring, but I think this is important for my story).
As almost every ex-Erasmus student say, I felt it was the best experience on my life, and probably my best year ever, but I don’t want to focus my story on it. This was just the push I needed to realize what my true passion was: traveling. In just 9 months I traveled around 14 countries.
After I came back from my Erasmus, I kept studying in Cantabria, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the Erasmus and I was always trying to find a way to have an experience abroad again.
That’s how I met IAESTE, the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience. Thanks to be working with this association I got the chance to start what I thought it was the biggest challenge of my life: A 13 weeks internship as a researcher at Bangkok’s University, in Thailand. I chose the furthest place I could in order to test myself and discover my own limits. Keep away the small rests of shyness inside of me.
I have to say that I feel proud about how I adapted myself to that so different country.
Beginnings are never easy, and the first week I thought: “What the hell am I doing here?” But later you realize you have to do your best to accept the situation, whatever it is, and enjoy as much as you can, because otherwise it wouldn’t have any sense all the efforts you put for getting the chance.
So there was a point where I stopped and told myself: “You have followed your dream for 10.000km, now is the time to enjoy”. And it was what I did, and just changing my mind every problem gets smaller. Of course you always miss some people, or some facilities you have in your place, but I think we have just one life, and we must use it as best as we can.
In my time in Thailand I met some of the most interesting people I have ever met, I got the chance to work and live in an absolutely different way, I traveled around places that I could not imagine before, such as Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and I learned to appreciate things I didn’t do before. I matured more in 3 months than in 24 years, but still being a dreamer.
I had the chance to do crazy things like ride an elephant across the jungle, be inside of a jail with 5 tigers surrounding me or get lost through the dark streets of Hanoi (Vietnam) after being “kidnapped” far away from my hostel by 2 motorists who pretended to be taxi drivers. Good stories and not as good stories, but stories that now I look back and remember with a smile in my mouth, and don’t even think for a moment about the bad moments.
This amazing experience gave me the motivation to keep following my dreams and working hard, so the reward came to me as a new 12 weeks internship in Istanbul. Again, I have to say that I only have good memories about it and all my efforts worth it.
Now I am about to take another big step in my life, a 3/6 months internship in Chagzhou, China (I’ll be there in just one week :P) and thinking about looking for a job after it and stay for a longer time there. I know that every single step I took was determinant to got this opportunity.
3 years ago I was coming back from my Erasmus, thinking that I already spent the best time in my life, but now I think the best part is about to come. Sometimes the easiest way is just leave the life run, keep living in your routine, with the same people always surrounding you, your facilities and so on…..but is it what you really want to have? Is it the big story you want to tell your grandchildren? Is it the way you want to live your only life?
Life has shown me that if you want something and you work hard for it, there is always a reward, in one way or another. And over all, you feel the satisfaction of doing what you really want to do. As the great inspiring writer Paulo Coelho said: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
After all these words, I want to explain that I don’t pretend to teach anybody how to act, what is the only way of happiness or something like that. I just want to share my experience and the way of thinking that I found, which sometimes is not easy to find and made me achieve what I consider today my happiness.