Why did you pick this program?
Jackie: I chose to join Project Limon in Nicaragua, a chapter of FIMRC, because I have always dreamed of helping others who do not have the advantages we all think of as a normal part of daily life. I felt as though I needed to give back to the world that has given me so much. I felt as though a part of me so yearning to make an impact.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Jackie: GO FOR IT! Traveling is an amazing experience. Take a trip OUTSIDE your comfort zone, eat different (even strange) foods, and learn to love everything around you. So many people do not even get the chance to see the Eiffel Tower, a village in Nicaragua, or a prayer session in India. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do travel make sure you take it.
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
Jackie: Although I am an independent person, I have to admit I did get a little homesick. I really missed the comfort of my own cooking, family, friends, and obviously the puppies! Some nights were filled with these emotions and I definitely did not like the feeling!
However, this is completely normal. As time went on, I started to become more comfortable to the people and places around me and realized this would be my home away from home for now! Homesickness is a challenge, but definitely gets better!
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Jackie: As one of our service projects, a group of us went to a neighborhood and taught pregnant women about their pregnancy--what stage they were at, what would happen to their bodies from here, and how to ensure a safe and healthy birth.
In one session, I connected with one of the expecting mothers' daughter right away. She was fascinated with my camera and most of the day was spent taking picture of her and showing them to her as well as teaching her how to take her own.
The next day, I was teaching dental health at an elementary school and entered one of the classrooms to find a little girl excitingly waving her hand with a huge smile on her face. It was Maria, the girl I had seen the day before! I couldn't contain my happiness that Maria had remembered me. I was even more happy that I could spend another day with a new and amazing friend. It just goes to show what one little moment can mean to someone!