I was incredibly fortunate to be a participant on the first ever Community and Culture Expedition that GVI ran in Tulum, Mexico. Our aim was to teach English to members of the local community as it was an area that was growing exponentially in tourism (Ten years later Tulum is now the "Go To" vacation spot). I received excellent training for my Teaching English as a Second Language certification, had the opportunity to teach both adult classes in the local community center as well as after-school English classes to high school students, received both Spanish and Mayan lessons, and truly felt welcomed by the entire city of Tulum. GVI organised an incredibly supportive leadership team that included two teacher trainers, a cultural adviser who was from the area, and also provided a scholarship for a local participant. We were all welcomed into the homes of our students, learned about the local cuisine, anthropological and geographical history, and formed life-long friendships with both the other participants and locals. As we were part of the first ever expedition, we had the unique opportunity of developing the future of the program. We were able to assist in the set up of future program initiatives such as English lessons for the local Taxi drivers that would enhance their employ-ability with the influx of tourism. My expedition was unfortunately during Hurricane Emily, but the local hurricane policies combined with GVI's policies kept us and expedition members from near-by programs very safe, and we were able to assist in hurricane clean-up afterwards. I have nothing but the fondest memories of my experience with GVI and would (and do) HIGHLY recommend their programs to anyone.