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Afro-Dominicana Janelby Ramirez On Studying Abroad & ‘Coming From America’


(Image: Janelby Ramirez)

Living abroad can be an eye-opening experience. Inspired by her decision to relocate and pursue a master’s degree abroad, Janelby Ramirez launched Coming From America, an original series on Ramirez, 27, takes us through her journey—the good, the bad and the ugly—as she navigates new cultures and experiences.

This week, we’re featuring Ramirez, who currently lives in Denmark, as our “Everyday Chica.” La dominicana spoke with Ain’t I Latina? about Coming From America, identity through a European lens and living fearlessly.

Ain’t I Latina?: You’re the creator of Coming from America, a series on that follows you as you pursue your master’s degree in Europe. What inspired you to start chronicling your experience?

Ramirez: I have always wanted to create stories, and I think that I’m in the perfect position to tell amazing stories right now because I am traveling so much. I actually remember the exact moment I thought of Coming From America… I was walking with two of my colleagues one night, one Polish girl and one Romanian guy. We were all talking and making jokes, and while Snapchatting us, the hashtag #comingfromamerica just came to my head, as a subtle way of acknowledging how awesome it is that I can have this opportunity to be around such different people! After that simple Snapchat post, my mind started roaming and I got the urge to create a series based on my experience.

Coming From America is a manifestation of the FearlessLeon mantra, “living life fearlessly.” How has your experience abroad helped you to live life fearlessly?

To me, living fearlessly doesn’t necessarily mean not ever being afraid. I get scared all the time, it’s a part of being human. To me, living fearlessly means to be conscious of your humanity and accept that sometimes you’re going to be afraid but, despite that awareness, you still follow your heart. Your faith in yourself and in the universe has to be greater than the fear you have because your soul is greater than your human existence. Living and studying abroad has completely validated my thoughts on being fearless. When you leave everything behind and disrupt any notion of comfort or security, that is a fearless act in and of itself, and so all of the events that have occurred from the moment I chose to do that have all been the consequence of fearlessness… and I have loved every good, bad, and ugly second.

What are your three tips to conquering one’s fear?

  1. Be aware that conquering fear is not a one time solution. It is a process that takes self love and hard work, everyday. You have to be in it for the long haul, there isn’t any quick fix.

  2. Trust and love yourself, above all else. I recently watched Dr. Brene Brown speak about trust where she quoted the late great Maya Angelou by saying, “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves, and tell me ‘I love you’.” Self-love is about self-trust. When you trust yourself, you can rely on the fact that you are doing what you think is in your best interest because you love YOU. When you can hold yourself accountable for your own actions, you’re in a better position to allow fearlessness into your life.

  3. Know when to ask for help. We subconsciously ask for advice or help when we want to hear what we already know. It’s important to ask for help when you really need it, and not when your gut is already telling you what is in your best interest. Always follow your gut. It’s all about energy, and it’s precious. When you ask for someone’s energy in the form of help, it should be used in the most efficient way possible. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable to someone else is a fearless act in and of itself, and opening that door will make it a bit easier to conquer that fear you’ve been wanting to work on.

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