September 7, 2018
I was so excited to begin a new experience with Up with People after hearing so many good things about the program. However, even having heard stories from my aunt Julie Pang Mosely (87C) and seeing the B16 show in Sacramento, I was not prepared for my own UWP experience! It was amazing—from simply meeting people from all over the world and performing with them to forming a bond that will last a lifetime. With my friends back home, I enjoy sharing stories about people from Europe, Mexico and Japan. Doing community service in places I had never thought I would visit and staying with incredible people who opened their homes to me was an invaluable opportunity. Seeing so much of the world, not just as a tourist, really opened my eyes to how different yet how similar we all are.
One unique facet of our cast is that A18 had the opportunity to travel to Kosovo for the first time in Up with People history. Introducing UWP to the world’s newest country summed up what the UWP experience is all about. We met an incredible group of people who were so willing to give their time to help us give the most we could to the community. I learned so much about Kosovo and the resilience of the people who have experienced so many horrors so recently. Our cast planted 104 trees near the burial site of their first independent president as a lasting gift to the people of Kosovo. Kosovars hold a special place in our hearts and we hope to see them continue to thrive.
This semester did far more for me than just seeing the world and performing. I learned a lot about myself and have grown. Getting to know and becoming great friends with strangers from around the world has given me the confidence to meet people when I start college. Setting goals for myself throughout the semester and achieving them has taught me to constantly pursue what I am passionate about. Surprisingly, traveling with Up with People has also reinvigorated my desire to learn another language. I now would love to learn more about the world around me and speak a language other than my native English. So much about me has changed, and I’ll always say that I would never trade my experiences with Up with People for anything in the world.