Alumni Spotlight: Chelsea Wait

Chelsea Wait attended CCS Guatemala in 2007 for two months. She is a Rutgers graduate who enjoys hiking, writing editorials, and going to the beach.

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Morning: Morning was laid-back. Breakfast (banana, yogurt, oatmeal, and fresh fruit), reading or chatting with some of the staff that worked at the house. Around 8am the CCS driver would take me and the others to our placement which was an orphanage/primary school.

We helped the kids with potty training, did art projects with them, taught them to read, and I worked on a special project with a little girl who was deaf/mute.

Afternoon: Usually we would be back from placement around 2pm. We’d eat a delicious lunch and Dona Sonia (one of the program managers) would tell us what activity we’d have that afternoon. We did lots of different things—sometimes we’d have a Spanish lesson or a dance lesson, we got cooking lessons, and a few days a week we’d go out to visit a cultural or historical site.

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Evening: Activities with the program manager generally lasted into the evening depending on what we were doing. Then there was usually a communal dinner where everyone would eat together and then help clean up.

Highlights: The highlight of my trip was a huge party my friend and I threw for the kids at the orphanage before she left. We rented a bouncy house and brought it to the orphanage and made the kids cookies. They had a blast! Even the Sors (Nuns) were having a good time and enjoying themselves.

Academically, I am really happy about all the Spanish I learned. I was speaking Spanish on the phone to make weekend travel plans, speaking it to Dona Sonia, the cooks, the house staff, and to the kids. It was a great language immersion experience.