When we talk about internships abroad, people would automatically tell you how great of an opportunity that is. They would congratulate you for passing the visa interview; would tell you how they are so excited for you; but one thing they wouldn’t tell you is the danger you are about to face when you’re finally there and experience it firsthand.
It was a cold spring night in Sandusky, Ohio when my friends and I decided to go to the nearest McDonald’s. It was only a five to ten-minute walk from our company housing; it was freezing, but nothing stopped us from heading out.
Oh, how I wish the cold did.
Or someone did.
How I wish something did.
A white car passed us when we were on our way to our good old friend, Ronald, but we didn’t pay much attention with it. We just kept on talking with each other until we noticed that the car made a U-turn and drove back to the street where we’re walking. Not just once; but twice.
Now, it’s starting to bother us.
We were all starting to get creeped out since it was dark and we’re all alone in the middle of the road. Add the fact that we’re all just students abroad who don’t know anything much about the place. What do we do? Who do we call? Wait, we don’t even have our phones with us!
The third (and last) time they passed us was terrifying.
I didn’t see how many they were inside the car – all I remember is that they were a group of girls and boys. We were now about ten to fifteen meters away from them when they started throwing eggs (EGGS!!) and other things at us, shouting different phrases like, “Go back to where you came from!!” or “Go home *insulting/racist words here*!!”
D A M N.
We were scared. It was only our first month in America and we’re only about to stay there for a good three to four months… A supposed to be memorable and fun-filled four months. Why do we have to be scared on our first month? Do we really need to experience such traumatic experience?
The things they threw may not have reached us physically but their words just aimed at us so bad. It left me with so many questions. Mostly how’s, mostly why’s.
How could there be such mean people in this world? Why would they hate a group of teenagers who have done nothing against them?
Is there still a safe place in this world?
That night, it woke me to my senses and thought that, no, there is no longer a safe place in this world.
It was also just yesterday when I heard that a couple I personally know were held up right in front of their home, with guns pointed at their heads, asking them to open the main door so the robbers can take whatever they wanted. The couple just arrived home from somewhere and when the guy opened the car door, a gun was already pointed at his head. Yup, just like the movies.
This just shows that you can be in danger even in the comfort of your homes. What am I supposed to do? Stay at home forever and not explore the beauty of this world? Watch the media all day and frighten myself on how “unsafe” a certain country is?
No. That is not what I want.
This experience did not and would not stop me from making my dream of traveling the world – learning diverse cultures, meeting and befriending people, and trying out cuisines from different countries – come true. It just made me feel much ready to overcome whatever experience I am about to deal with. It didn’t make me back out on my plans hence it made me take safety precautions always wherever I am.
What have I learned after?
I learned that there are still a lot of bad guys in this world so don’t you dare be one of them. Also, as the saying goes, a ship only sinks when the water gets inside it. Never let these people or any kind of negativity get to you. Never let their actions destroy you. Never let them stop you from doing what you truly want.
It has been years but everything is still fresh in my mind like it just happened two days ago.
From that experience, I know I became bolder.
From that experience, I know, I am braver.
Hoo! I never talk about this story and now I finally get to share it with the world. (Parents, if you’re reading, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I’m okay!! Please don’t talk to me about it.)
How about you? Have you experienced something like this before? Or if not, maybe something close to this experience? What happened? Feel free to share your thoughts. I’m listening.