The Lisle Factor

Riley Neil, Features editor

Sophomore Olivia Lisle spends her afternoons practicing for the next Cross Country meet, her mornings studying at Onyx coffee lab for her AP class, and her weekdays in the language academy with fluent Spanish speaking students in preparation for the six months that she will be spending in Spain next year. Lisle will be studying abroad, spending half of her junior year immersed into a new culture, meeting new people, and adapting to Spanish curriculum.

Spending time outside U.S. borders is not a foreign concept to Lisle. She has spent many summer breaks in Mexico and Costa Rica where she stayed in villages, living as everyday people there. From seeing local neighborhood soccer games to sailing into the ocean, Lisle and her family got to break down cultural borders to simply just enjoy life. Lisle doesn’t see traveling as vacations anymore, but as experiences to learn and live.

Throughout her travels, the unexpected has happened and put Lisle in non-ideal situations. Lisle once got very ill after eating a quesadilla from a Mexican street vendor. She ended up riding in a friend’s truck to visit a local clinic for treatment. Lisle didn’t know that the illness would be the least of her problems that day, as on the way back, the truck was stopped by a road block as multiple men involved in the drug cartel were stopped on the side of the road. Dozens of policemen in bulletproof vests armed with machine guns suddenly filled the area, shooting at the cartel. Another unexpected event Lisle experienced was during a Florida beach trip with her family last summer.

“I went paddleboarding one afternoon and went a little too far off shore as I found it odd that fish under my board were all swimming frantically in one direction. I really didn’t think anything of it until a man about fifty feet shallower than me yelled across the water that there was a shark under my board.”

Lisle at first didn’t believe him, as shark scares are the type of thing you hear about happening to people far away or in movies. But when she looked under her board, there was indeed a dark fin slicing the water.

“I held my breath, expecting the worst as the seven foot shark circled around my board. It eventually swam away, securing my life and I was pulled back to shore.”

However, Lisle doesn’t let these experiences shy her away from potential new adventures.

“Although some of these events seemed scary at the time, I wouldn’t trade them or not have them again. These experiences are just life. Dangerous things can happen anywhere so I don’t let these events stop me from doing what I love. They change our perspective and help us grow as people. Experience is the best teacher,” said Lisle.

Lisle takes every past experience to help her build her next one- living in Spain for six months. She isn’t afraid of the time away from home because she can’t wait to meet new people, see the world a little differently, and trust and see God in a new way.

“What makes me want to study abroad?  The world waiting in front of me, the people I haven’t met, the room I have to grow as a person, and the cultures I haven’t been a part of motivates me to study abroad. Life is short so do what you love while you can,” said Lisle. “I am beyond excited to get thrown into a whole new culture and learn new things. Getting to experience life and see God in a new way motivates me.”Olivia Lisle