Last summer I decided to spend a month in Senegal as a high school student going into sophomore year, and it was probably the best decision I have ever made. Going into it I had the wrong assumption that the trip was supposed to be a community service based trip, a trip where we help the people in developing countries. I was completely wrong. In Senegal we stayed in several different communities including home-stays, learned their local dialects, trekked, and discussed and reflected with the group as we experienced this culture so unique to us. In Senegal I experienced generosity and kindness that I have never seen in my own culture, I was surrounded with positive energy every day and words cannot describe how wonderful I felt. Senegalese people greet everyone they see, whether they are strangers or close relatives; they put others first before themselves. In the end, I realized that there are so much more things that I could learn from them rather than teach them, that our individual success isn't the most important thing, but rather love, kindness, and community.
The instructors and my peers were another reason why my trip was so great. Instructors and peers from different parts of the world really widened my perspectives. They also made the trip extremely fun.
Senegal was amazing. It changed my perspective of the world as well as my own life. I aspire to bring the sense of generosity and kindness that I felt in Senegal back in my own environment too.