Let me start on an exciting note… I AM STUDYING ABROAD IN NEW ZEALAND! Honestly, who knew this was possible? I certainly didn't think it was in the cards for me, yet here we are. It's a wonderful blessing to have your hopes, dreams, and prayers finally coming to fruition. I'm going across the world for my education. Even writing it feels so surreal.
*I will note that I am a total Native kid cliché, but give me a chance. I can't guarantee my story is helpful to all, but I hope it can open some closed doors for someone, anyone really.*
First off, I want to say that I was set for New Zealand the moment I initially learned that Susquehanna University offered New Zealand as a study abroad option. In all honesty, as a youngster high school senior at Navajo Prep, I wanted a ticket even back then.
It's a beautiful country with wonderful adventures to behold and beautiful Indigenous Maori people to guide my way on their land. Frankly, it was my biggest dream to see more outside of the southwest.
And this start of this answered prayer begins at the University of Waikato.
Behold and watch! Our heroine is a Sociology major and Africana Studies minor. If you blink, do it now. In doing so, I will tell the not-so-oral story of "that-one-Navajo-chick-who-wrote-an-obscure-article." (Yeah SU and Navajo-Rez, I SEE YOU!)
Now, some of you may be wondering why I'm going so far or why I may value such an experience. My answer won't shock you because it is nauseously ambitious. I want to attend Waikato to one day return home to my people.
My people are Navajo. I know our people can have a bad rep for many things, despite that, my generation is trying to change that. I'll be honest and admit that it probably isn't a realistic goal, but I refuse to give it up. I see the worth of my efforts and maybe it won't benefit my Navajo people, it could benefit someone else's people.
I see New Zealand as a steppingstone for something much greater. Whatever I may or may not find there, I know it will be a worthwhile experience. My prayer is that whatever I find or learn there will be earned through prayer and hard work. It has carried me thus far and will only carry me further. Therefore, it carries my family and my people much further.
I may not see it, but my accomplishments represent my entire community and like hell, am I going to represent them any less than strong, nizhonifully hozho (gorgeously that-rightness-feeling-in-all-things), educated, and as those stoodis-people.
I want every Native youth to hear me – you can go further than me. You use that Indigenous somethingness of yours. That's you. Be it through the military, school, workforce, care-taking, healing, learning, teaching, stories, prayers, or anything else. Your own determination and prayer to carry you much farther than I can currently.I write this blog for you as well. Learn from my example and go forth to do much MUCH more. Feel free to follow my journey. I will tell you all my tricks, advice, and stories for travelling abroad so that when it is your time – you'll have all the answers at your very fingertips fam.