Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.
I have traveled to international countries, such as England, Ireland, and Italy, but none, as important as, my travel to Romania with Globe Aware. This was my high school senior service project to help underprivileged people outside of the city of Brasov. Here, I built houses for two weeks, by mixing and pouring cement, laying insulation and dry wall, and painting. The Romanian trip revealed to me true poverty and hardships experienced by underprivileged people every day and the need to help them.
Throughout this trip, I saw multifarious amounts of horrible and dispiriting things in this little town. The homes were made of twenty percent tree logs and eighty percent mud. Some houses even used rugs for walls and roofing. The insides of the homes were soiled with dirt and dust, and were filled with a single bed and maybe a chair. The children would sleep on the dirt floor or on the wooden floor of the uneven attic. Many of the children were barely clothed and covered in dirt and flies, while the parents had only one set of clothes, several generations old. Seeing these things brought sorrow to my heart. I had never seen anything remotely close to this type of poverty, except the filtered version on television. When I saw little children bathing in a river, in which they threw their trash, I was astonished at these conditions. This made me truly realize how privileged I am and lucky to live in a first rate country.
This trip gave me new insight to life and how to live. It showed me that there is more to giving than receiving. By helping these people, I finally felt that I was contributing to society, rather than just taking from it. Helping these people showed me that everyone in this world needs someone to help them. I learned the true value of need, not just wanting a new video game, but wanting food and clean water to sustain life. These people had nothing and I felt that I gave them something, even if it was, as little as, pouring the foundation to their house.
At first, I was only happy to go on the trip to get my senior service hours completed. Globe Aware (http://www.globeaware.org), a US and Canadian nonprofit charitable organization, made all the arrangements for the volunteer vacation in Romania. It was a long trip on Lufthansa, but the housing and food were good. I thought that I was in for an adventure. But now, I see that the trip was a formidable life lesson. It showed me the hardships that people endure while privileged people, such as me get to travel and experience first hand others’ culture. It gave me a deeper yearning to volunteer more in society to help those less fortunate. This was the most consequential trip that I have ever taken. It showed me the pains in life and the need to heal them. It has encouraged me to continue to do well in my studies, so that I can make even more of a difference throughout my life.