Alumni Spotlight: Marisa Barnaba

Marisa loves to hang out with friends and try new things!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I love kids. The thought of taking care of these kids and giving them love was just amazing. I wanted to give them as much happiness as I could!

Another reason I chose this program was for sightseeing. I got to explore so many places I wouldn’t have been able to see if I didn’t go on this trip!

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

The program provider helped me with so much. They explained what the program was about, what was involved, and how amazing and kind everyone is. They insured my safety and made me feel comforted. They guided me to what I needed for the trip and I am very grateful for that. After discussing those things, I was ready for my trip.

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

One piece of advice that I would tell someone who is going overseas would be that everyone gets homesick, but it’s normal and okay. This was my first time traveling ever, so this was my first time even traveling alone and especially going out of the country for the first time I was so scared. But I made so many new friends on the trip who made me feel safe and welcomed!

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

An average day on this trip would be going to the orphanage to take care of the children. Usually, we would go to the orphanage, but some days during the week we would go sightseeing.

On orphanage days, we would go to an apartment building and have breakfast and do our laundry then we would walk to the orphanage and spent countless hours with the children

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

My biggest fear was being away from home. This was my first time traveling ever, so it was my first time in a plane, and the first time out of the country.

I was across the world and I was so far away from home. This was my first time ever away from home and I was scared that I might not make friends on the trip. But when I started getting to know everyone I found out they were just like me. We all became great friends and I felt safe and welcomed on the trip.

Homesickness is very normal I’ve learned but I can be overcome.

What was one thing the trip taught you?

One thing the trip taught me was to be grateful for what you have and who you have in your life because there are children out there with no electricity, no water, no food, and not even a family. I learned to always no matter what love your loved ones, even if you fight they are always there for you!