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Celebrating 5 Years of the CIEE Civic Leadership Summit: Cheryl Pablo

Interview with Cheryl Pablo from Nicaragua (CIEE Work & Travel USA 2017)

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What made you interested in doing an exchange experience in the United States?

I grew up in a small country with a small family. My dad works out of the country and has a lot of stories about how life is out there. He has a special feeling for the United States because it's the country that gave him a job and an opportunity to start a family, have a home, and fortunately have me and my brother studying and preparing ourselves for life. My life experience, the media, the music I listen to and the way of thinking I grew up with made me want to experience life on my own in the great United States.

What is the most important thing you learned at the Civic Leadership Summit?

I learned that everyone in the world could live in harmony if we base our lives on respect and empathy. I met bright young people from so many different backgrounds, but we all had this feeling of respect towards everyone, even though we were different in so many ways. Also, I learned that one person can make a change – one person can be the light to others that would come to you and start a fire.

How has the Civic Leadership Summit impacted your life?

Now I truly feel like I have a responsibility to my community and my country. The issue we have is that young people are not motivated to study, to learn, to think, to change things for better, or fight for what we believe in. We were only six brave Nicaraguans in CIEE Work & Travel USA during the summer of 2017, and that was because I personally saw a lot of young and capable people backing off and claiming that they didn't want to step out of their comfort zone. I am sure I can be an example and set standards to a lot of young people of how good it feels to work for something and achieve what you want.

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Where are you now? What are you doing now?

 I am in Nicaragua, studying and working right now. I'm saving money to be part of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program again this summer!

What makes you a changemaker?

My main area has to be young people, teenagers in high school, and young people in college. I've been volunteering in projects to help kids learn to read and write, and high school students to find what they truly want to study in college. I think education is very important for us to open our minds to the world and have more sense of how our actions do matter and how much we can help others if we all get together. This is something that I'm doing because, at the moment, it is the only way I can help. But, I am truly putting in effort to get people together with the same motivation – to help others.

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