My HSVA in Guatemala
A member of the Cross-Cultural Solutions HQ staff asked me some questions when I returned from my High School Volunteer Abroad experience in Guatemala, and I think my answers can help you make the right decision about the best volunteer abroad program for you. So here's what I think:
How did the CCS experience impact your path once you returned home?
My trip made me fully realize that I definitely want a career where I can help people, especially by traveling abroad. My ultimate goal is now to do Doctors Without Borders, or something similar. My trip also helped a lot with my Spanish language skills, which I plan on studying in college.
What is some advice that you'd give to other teens considering a High School Volunteer Abroad program with CCS?
Bring a journal to jot down events from the day because you'll look back and realize that you've forgotten about all of the little things that you won't want to forget. It's also a good opportunity to take a breather and reflect on the day.
What have you taken away from your experience?
I'm still in contact with many of the people from my trip and I've been able to visit one. I know that we will all be friends for a very long time. One impact that I got from this trip was that I got to experience a new culture, language, and country that changed my views on the world. It isn't as black and white as it seems. It is so full of life and vibrant. Even the people who may come from little have so much to offer and I think that everyone can learn so much from a trip like this. My students taught me about patience and trusting in myself and my skills as a teacher, leader, and friend. The whole trip made me realize that I need to not take anything for granted. I learned so much from the people that I encountered on my trip and I will carry these lessons with me, and share them with others, for the rest of my life.