The independence. I wanted to feel like I was really doing something and being a part of the community.With AV, we lived in self catered houses and were ultimately responsible for ourselves. Though we had an in country representative to talk to if need be, we were allowed to be on our own for the most part. We weren't staying in nice hotels where someone prepared our food and we got bused out each day to volunteer. I really liked the fact that it wasn't just a high school field trip.
Why did you pick this program?
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
I call it our "Ocean's Eleven" moment. My fellow volunteers and I hosted a goodbye dinner for the permanent teachers at the end of our volunteering time. That evening, as the party was starting to die down, we all found ourselves standing on the porch of our house, silently leaning on the rails. We didn't say anything, but it was as though we were all taking that same moment to reflect on the amazing thing we had just done together.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Trust yourself to go all in.
What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?
When I was 10, my family moved, and I went into a really bad depression. To combat it, I never really committed to any person or feeling and became numb. Whenever we moved, I didn't feel much pain saying goodbye, because I hadn't put down any roots knowing that they would be ripped up. But when I went to Africa, I committed myself to all of it, even though I knew how hard it would be to leave. For the first time in a very long time, I felt alive again. The hurt I felt at leaving showed me that I had gone all in, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything.