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Participating in Global Glimpse’s three-week summer study-abroad program in Nicaragua has taught me a lot about the country, the world, and myself. In Nicaragua, our group of 23 high-school juniors explored different aspects of the developing nation through guest speakers, field trips, seminars, and hands-on activities in the city of Matagalpa. We also taught English to locals several times a week, which was difficult at first because I don’t speak a word of Spanish. Towards the end of the trip, we organized a project to give back to the Nicaraguan community by donating money, whiteboards, and toys to a poor local school and devoting an entire day to clear the school’s yard and build a playground made entirely of tires. One of the most memorable units to study in Nicaragua was poverty. Rather than just hearing about the conditions of those living in extreme poverty, we were able to witness and experience it firsthand.

Observing many adults and children scavenging a landfill among flies, cows, and stray dogs, to make a mere thirty-cents per day was only our first insight to poverty. We were then asked to live on $1-a-day, which gave us an opportunity to experience the daily lifestyles of those living in extreme poverty; we were given little to eat, had no running water or electricity, and lived with families in a poor local neighborhood, helping out with everyday chores. Although the families in the poor neighborhood lacked many resources, they were so humble, happy, and grateful for the little they did have.

I’m extremely grateful to have had this rare opportunity to explore so many elements of a developing nation. It opened my eyes to the conditions of the majority of the world and made me recognize the resources and opportunities I once took for granted. Things I once considered to be necessities, like water and electricity, I now view as privileges. These insights have motivated me to help out those in need. While I’d love to help end global poverty, I feel it’s more rational to start small in my own community. Since my trip to Nicaragua, I’ve donated clothes to the Salvation Army and given meals to the homeless near my workplace downtown.

As cliché as it sounds, experiencing Nicaragua through the eyes of a local instead of a tourist has made me a better person. Not only am I more aware about occurrences of the world, I’m also more passionate and motivated to help and give back to others. After teaching English to the Nicaraguan locals and building a playground for the school in the poor community I’ve learned that everyone has the power to make a difference, as long as the determination and motivation to pursue it remains strong.

Although the Nicaraguans lacked many resources I once thought were necessary to live a fulfilling life, they gave me much more than I could have ever given them: the ability to reach out to an amazing community, gain a wider perspective of the world, and become the person I am today. Going to Nicaragua confirmed that giving is better than getting and I carry this message with me every day; even the smallest gesture of kindness, such as holding the door open for a stranger, can make a difference in person’s day, if not in the world. I am so grateful to have been nominated and accepted to participate in his program. My study-abroad experience in the developing nation of Nicaragua has opened my heart to giving back to others and has motivated me to pursue a career that utilizes this passion. Participating in Global Glimpse’s three-week summer study-abroad program in Nicaragua has taught me a lot about the country, the world, and myself. In Nicaragua, our group of 23 high-school juniors explored different aspects of the developing nation through guest speakers, field trips, seminars, and hands-on activities in the city of Matagalpa. We also taught English to locals several times a week, which was difficult at first because I don’t speak a word of Spanish. Towards the end of the trip, we organized a project to give back to the Nicaraguan community by donating money, whiteboards, and toys to a poor local school and devoting an entire day to clear the school’s yard and build a playground made entirely of tires. One of the most memorable units to study in Nicaragua was poverty. Rather than just hearing about the conditions of those living in extreme poverty, we were able to witness and experience it firsthand.

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