Moving to a foreign country for any amount of time is a uniquely frightening experience, and one that is even harder to grapple with when it is done alone. For Jordyn Doyel, a college sophomore at the time, this fear became a reality when her best friend’s plans to study abroad with her fell through and she found herself beginning a 5 and 1/2 month stay in Italy on her own.
For most, it would be easy to strike up a conversation with a fellow member of his or her study abroad group, a set of individuals likewise beginning this exciting journey. For Jordyn, however, this courage wasn’t so easy to muster up. Throughout her childhood, Jordyn was always known to be incredibly energetic and vocal, talking so fast and for so long that her parents often couldn’t even understand what she was saying. This, on top of living with two older siblings and three older cousins, made Jordyn feel that she always had to fight to be heard.
Her siblings and cousins often ridiculed Jordyn for her rapid and constant talking, so much so that she eventually internalized all the criticism and chose to become almost silent, so much so that it pained her to stay quiet all the time. At home, she feared speaking up would bring invite more ridicule from her family, and in the classroom, these fears followed her as she didn’t want her classmates to treat her the same way.
On that plane ride across the Atlantic, however, something changed. Jordyn knew that if she stayed silent this time, it could lead to her living the loneliest 5 and 1/2 months of her life in a new country. So she did something she had refused to do for a long time, and she spoke up. Despite her study abroad group starting out as strangers to her, Jordyn quickly made some of the closest friends she has ever had. Her affinity for striking up conversations and being her old, chatty self bloomed once again and she achieved a remarkable personal triumph.
About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Erin Law
Erin Law is a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago pursuing a Master’s Degree in Digital Media and Storytelling. Her work focuses on utilizing documentary film to illuminate contemporary social injustices and the personal narratives of those who experience them.