Brazil, summer 2007
Bolivia, spring semester 2008 and summer 2009
The first time I left the United States was with Amizade in the summer of 2007 on a service-learning program to Santarem, Brazil. The month I spent learning about international development and Brazilian culture while working with locals on the construction of a community center changed my outlook on life forever. My eyes were opened to a world I hadn’t been previously exposed to and I was challenged to better understand and appreciate the opportunities I have been given. That initial program allowed me to re-evaluate my perspective on life and develop career goals related to community development in Latin America. As a result, I studied abroad twice more with Amizade in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia in order to further my understanding of the world around me. These two experiences confirmed the desires in me to better understand myself as a global citizen. In the end, Amizade has changed my life and allowed me to have a more complete understanding of both who I am and what I want to do in the future.
Tanzania, summer 2009
Rainwater harvesting systems change lives. As an Amizade Global Service-Learning student-volunteer in the Karagwe District of Tanzania in the summer of 2009 I saw firsthand the powerful and utterly life-changing effects that these systems have on those that use them. These tanks are more than pieces of plastic; they raise people’s quality of life by ensuring safety and relieving a grueling workload. No longer required to spend hours each day fetching water just to survive, a child may finally be able to attend school, or a woman may be able to pursue professional training.
I believe in this project because I have seen the results for myself and I also believe in Amizade Global Service-Learning Programs because I have never met a group of more dedicated and passionate people than those that make up the Amizade family. I can assure you that they are working day in and day out to make our world a better place and I am honored to be able to call myself an Amizade alumnus.
Jamaica, spring break 2009
My trip to Jamaica was my first time out of the United States. It was such a humbling experience to see first hand the struggles of a developing country. Staying inland with a Jamaican family allowed me to actually be a part of the exciting and culturally rich lifestyle of the island, something tourists can never fully experience while staying at one of the island’s beach resorts. After the trip I gained a new appreciation for my education, daily life activities and for the support system I have here in the US. The interactive study of the class helped me directly define the term of global citizenship that I would have never learned in a regular university classroom. The trip was one of the most deeply influential experiences I had during my college years and helped me define the career path I would like to follow in my future. Becky is currently a senior at West Virginia University and studying Public Relations and Spanish.
Bolivia, fall semester 2009
My Amizade experience was simultaneously deeply humbling and greatly inspiring, in that I was able to recognize both my own limits and misconceptions as well as ways to start making a conscious change in myself for the better. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, and witnessing that kind of poverty challenged me to look at my own life and try to identify ways in which to better myself and the way I live within the context of our decidedly globalized world; which I believe is something we could all greatly benefit from. Alanna is currently majoring in political science and international studies in West Virgina University.
Tanzania, summer 2010
My trip to Tanzania was my first time out of the United States, and it was an eye opening experience to say the least. My Amizade trip made me realize just how much there is to learn about the world. Before going to Tanzania, I equated learning with sitting in a classroom. I now realize that the best way to learn is not from words in a text book, but from the words of others. There is so much to learn in the stories that friends or even strangers take the time to tell. The value of the real life education that I acquired in Tanzania by simply learning from others can never be quantified.
The greatest aspect of my Amizade program was how I was integrated into the Tanzanian community, rather than just living as an American tourist in Tanzania. This program is truly different from other study abroad programs because it focuses on the development of a global citizen, rather than just a completion of college credits. My Amizade professors facilitated me in opening my mind and allowing for a global and internal education that was far past the scope of my major.