Alumni Spotlight: Maelyn Maratita

Maelyn is an upcoming senior at Key West High School who is looking forward to enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. She enjoys spending her time outside, working out, and baking.
Adventures in Argentina

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it offered many different program themes, and I was able to find a number of programs that suited me. I was honored when I found out that I would be going to Argentina. In the month we had in the country, we painted a church and school, went water rafting, camping, and horseback riding, and stayed with a host family for two weeks, which accounted for much of the cultural learning I was able to do. After a month in the country, I have noticed a change in the way I see many situations and I was made aware of how fortunate I was, first hand, compared to many others.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I did not have to organize anything on my own. They were very reliable and answered any questions my family had.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I believe that going into the program with little to no expectations allowed me to embrace every opportunity. "Embrace the awkward" and "expect the unexpected" were two cliche, but very helpful quotes that motivated me throughout the adventure. I would also emphasize the idea of staying open minded, because you are there to learn, and while abroad, many things will be different.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A week in the program always differs from the next. You are always on the go, enjoying different activities encompassing the program theme. You will find yourself participating in the everyday routine of your home stay family or conducting community service projects, walking around the area, or partaking in a soccer match with local students with your group. Although you will most likely always have another activity planned, you will be given free time to relax or shop.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going into the program was the language barrier. My ability to speak Spanish was not as great as the others in the group, however, they helped me with anything I didn't fully understand. When I had to communicate with my host family, I was able to use a translator, and they did the same. Being in a situation like this has made me want to enhance my Spanish speaking skills and I now have a greater respect for those able to speak multiple languages.