The Beginning

Packing up my life into a few bags and leaving home (yet again) was not as easy as it had been four years ago. 

When I was 15, I felt more then ready to leave home. I rushed through goodbyes and swallowed the salty tears almost effortlessly. I craved adventure…and was lucky enough to have a family that supported me through my exchange year abroad in Chile. When I returned home, I immediately did a 180 and rushed to Indiana to play hockey and study for my remaining two years of high school. As I was pulled into the world and away from my hometown, I saw my loved ones less and less often. 

The decision to embark on another lengthy journey before college was a difficult one. This goodbye struck far deeper than any before it. I was not only saying farewell to my family & friends, but also to my past self. I am officially done with high school, and leaving home this summer felt like fleeing the nest for good. When I return home, I will have grown in ways I cannot begin to imagine, ways that I could not be more excited for. 

My passion for the world, other cultures, and especially people is what motivates me. In the short week of Pre-Departure training at GCY, I have found community & family in the strangers around me. So many amazing people from different places full of diverse perspectives…this community has come together and thrived in just a few short days. Together we learned about how to be more accepting, open-minded, understanding, kind, and spiritual. My heart has never felt so full and sure that this is the only path that I belong on. I am so grateful for the support and inspiration I am finding in those joining me on this journey. 

The Senegal cohort in particular has already begun to open up to each other in ways I never could have imagined. I am here searching for my own passion and possible impact- and joined by dozens of others with the same drive and intention. 

My passion for people & for this world is so evident in my heart and mind. With me, I carry intentions and goals that will help me live, work and relate to my new community in West Africa. My mindful practices will guide me into the next chapter of my life…where I hope to:

-Give much more than I receive 

-Deliver constant acts of kindness, no matter how small

-Work past differences and towards a better understanding of others

-Promote peace & acceptance 


-Form a sense of personal understanding that will allow me to become the greatest version of myself

I feel more than ready to board the plane tomorrow morning and to grow into the woman I know I can become. 

I am beyond grateful for the enormous amount of support I have received from where I come from. I cannot wait to share a new part of the world with my loved ones back home. I will be trying to post blogs relatively often. If anyone would like to write to me, letters can be sent to: 

Global Citizen Year Attn: ISABELLE JOHNSON

Boite Postle Número 16646

Dakar-Fann, SENEGAL 10700 

Love love love love you all