At age 20 I flew to Accra, Ghana with the hopes of completing my undergraduate internship requirements. My young, naive self had no idea what was really in store for me. I volunteered at a rural hospital and learned how to do blood tests for Malaria, Yellow Fever, and HIV. As I dreamed of becoming an American Medical Doctor, this was an exciting learning opportunity. Still, I was unaware of how much I was truly learning.
Volunteering for Students
In my final year at UC San Diego, I led a group of 14 fellow students on a volunteer program through Cross-Cultural Solutions in Cartago, Costa Rica. We were looking for an experience that would be memorable, and more than just a typical spring break. Safety and pre-departure support were also top priorities for us since we were students and even had a few first-time travelers in the group. And this is how I found Cross-Cultural Solutions.
I began studying Swahili during my first year at Hampshire College. I loved learning a new language and studying East African culture. So when I began my third year of school, I decided to volunteer in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania with Cross-Cultural Solutions as an independent study. CCS provided me with the perfect foundation to create a month-long program while earning academic credit.
In the fall of 2009, I was about to return to college after taking several years off to travel. I was at a pretty major crossroads in my life and not entirely sure about what I wanted to study, or what I wanted to do once I earned my degree. So before returning to school in the fall, I decided to go on one last international adventure. And I wanted this one to be something completely different from anything I had ever done before. That's how I made the decision to volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Bagamoyo, Tanzania for 3 weeks.