Student View: Lexie – ‘Suddenly the world mattered’

By BRIAN SMITH

It was the summer of 2011 and Lexie was learning a new way of life from her new Cambodian mother hen – Thyda. A women unlike anyone Lexie had ever met.

One day on the bus, Lexie and her fellow travelers had a thought – was Thyda alive during the Khmer Rouge? 

“She told us just the most heart-wrenching stories in broken English of their families running and them saving themselves but having to watch her sister be tortured in front of her,” Lexie said. “… She was such a bright and happy person and to know that she had such a dark past and so many burdens on her? We were just floored.”

In that moment, Lexie realized she wanted and needed to keep her finger on the world’s pulse.

“Before I went to Cambodia, I never concerned myself with the news going on in the world,” she said. “Now I listen to multiple news sources weekly, if not daily, because if I wasn’t keeping up with the news, I wasn’t going to be aware of the world. Suddenly the world mattered to me.

Before this transformation, Lexie wasn’t unfamiliar with international travel. She had been on several trips with her family and others. Her No Barriers Youth trip, however, was distinctly different.

This was NO vacation. She’d be totally out of her comfort zone.
“I’ve never felt so different in my entire life… never felt so completely out of my box and happy to be there as well,” she said.

The idea of being a  “global citizen” had never crossed her mind. That also translated into a sense of activism: “It never occurred to me that if I’m not doing something, I’m not doing it right.”

Lexie also said her trip opened the door for more international travel. After a year of college, she took a job as a nanny in Germany – another country she’d never been in and another language she didn’t know. Now living in Panama, working for an international school her mother directs, Lexie is planning to serve on a year and half mission for her church starting in November. The mission will take her around Switzerland and Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.

Eventually, she said she wants to study neuroscience and become a physician assistant.

None of it, she said, would have been possible without No Barriers Youth, and the No Barriers mindset. 

“It will open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed,” she said. “And it gives you so much more open-mindedness because you are willing to be naïve and there is so much power in that.”

Like Lexie, your students can step outside their comfort zone and realize their place in the world.

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