At LeadAbroad, we connect with our students and encourage them to connect with each other in a way that provides support, encouragement, and better conversation. In several ways, we strive to build a company culture that facilitates these more trivial conversations into those with meaning, purpose, and intent. One of these ways? Highs and lows.
English, please? High = the best part of your day. Low = the worst part of your day. Now, before this sounds unhealthily negative, let us explain!
We like to share our lows because it gives people an opportunity to share a struggle, a challenge, or simply a bump in the road. So often, people feel stuck in expressing their concerns with others, but at LeadAbroad, we encourage the exchange of lows because we want our students to feel supported, cared for, and listened to. This is often an outlet in helping people feel better in big ways and small.
Highs, of course, are just fun to share! It’s fun to cheer each other on and give people an opportunity to talk about themselves in a way that they feel proud.
Suddenly, the conversation went from tidbits of this-and-that to deeper engagement of support.
Junior Wake Forest student Georgia Hunsinger has written an awesome blog post to give you some insight into why this aspect of our company culture is so beneficial for our students. Georgia, a communications major and English and entrepreneurship double minor, joined us on Cape Town Direct 2015. Her position as a Community Leader is unique because she works alongside Community Leaders who were students on GO programs and LEAD programs, but is the only Direct Community Leader we have at this time! She brings an awesome, fresh perspective into the Community Leader role after experiencing a two-week paradise halfway across the world with LeadAbroad.
Check out what Georgia has to say, and give it a try, yourself!
Surprisingly, I had actually never heard of “Highs and Lows” before LeadAbroad. No, I take that back, I think I’d heard the term before, but never actually took the time out of my day with a group of people I really care about to share these experiences. Now, essentially every time I get a meal with a friend, family member, coworker, whoever really, I will ask for them to give me their high and low. One of my favorite things about this little exercise is that it could be a daily occurrence, weekly, monthly, yearly… it could even be asked in terms of life-long experiences. And it is a way to strengthen whatever bond or ties you have to the person sharing the information.
Now of course, being in Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks, there are going to be more highs than one could count, and sure, a couple of lows, but for the sake of time, I will share with you my number one high and low of my two week experience in Cape Town with LeadAbroad.
Starting with my low, because it is a rule to always end on the high note- ergo kick things off with the low. While every second of my experience abroad was worthwhile to my personal development in some way, I am such a home body that I couldn’t help but get a little homesick now and again. A tad embarrassing, I know, seeing as I was only there for two weeks, versus the rockstars who were away for 5, but I’ve grown up in an extremely close-knit family and I’ve never been so far removed from them for an extended period of time. In addition, I think what also played into some of my homesickness was just being in such a foreign place, I couldn’t help but physically feel the distance between home and where I was. However, that is why I am so grateful for LeadAbroad’s Direct programs! I was able to make it across the world, and do so in the perfect time frame for me.
My all time high from the trip is a big one. Yes, I did some of the most amazing things while in South Africa, like sky-dive for example, but the number one takeaway and all time high for me was the high I felt leaving the continent. Never have I emerged from any other thing in my life, program, sporting event, movie, date, etc., feeling as optimistic and excited about life as I did leaving my trip. I came out of the two weeks, a more confident, inspired person. Having so much time to reflect, and learn about myself through immersion within another culture, I was able to realize what kind of person I want to be, what kind of impact I want to make on the people around me, how I can make an impact on the people around me. I became this thoughtful, reflective version of myself that I had never really tapped into before, and it was amazing for me to witness how transformative my experience actually was. I had always heard from past LeadAbroad students how powerful their trips were, but I never actually thought I would be susceptible to it. I figured I knew myself well enough already. Well, surprise! I didn’t. But that’s okay, and I am so grateful to have had my time with LeadAbroad because I now realize I don’t ever have to stop growing and developing and “getting to know myself.” There will always be incredible experiences that are transformative and can alter how I view myself.
So, here’s a challenge from us to you. Tonight, when you sit down to have dinner, ask the people you’re with their high and low. They may not understand, but that’s ok…you can explain it to them! Use this simple, genuine question – what’s your high, and what’s your low – to promote deeper and more compassionate conversation.
-The LeadAbroad Team