Before I had even boarded onto the plane to Senegal, many thoughts ran through my head. What would the people I care most about be doing back home without me? What would life be like upon arrival home from Senegal? Would anything really even change? Eventually I came to the realization that the more I thought about the trip and the future, the more stress I was putting on myself. So I decided I was going to just pause life, and go into the trip going with the flow and soaking up as much as I could. Doing so, my experience throughout the trip was nothing short of amazing. Meeting generous locals opened up opportunities for me to take a look at my “inner self” in the mirror for the first time ever, and this eventually helped me to recognize what parts of me needed work.

Global travel has truly helped me to meet face to face with issues in the world that I had never really paid mind to previously. I would say that going through such an experience is playing a role in my newfound interest to educate and be educated on problems occurring not just in my country, but all over the world. I wish to keep up with such problems, and hopefully act on them in a way that will help somehow.

Reading the “Why Build Bridges, Not Walls?” blog post, I agreed with the idea of building bridges. With today’s reality of separation in our country, I believe that putting up “walls” only causes problems. Being that we are all human, it only makes sense to me that we all be treated the same and learn to work things out with each other, rather than block others out and treat everybody differently.

One thing I will take from my experience in Sengal and apply to my life, is the idea of hospitality. I have never been the type of person to offer help or peace to individuals without getting to know them first. Looking at it now, I was treated with an immense amount of hospitality based primarily on respect. So with this, I wish to do the same and treat everybody with respect and offer open arms to people in need of my help.

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Going to Peru, I was going mainly as a tourist, but the more time that I spent in Peru, talking with locals I was all it had to offer. Every place has its stories, food, traditions, and I was able to experience all of that. Fast forward to now, I felt connected with Peru, welcomed. I caught myself taking pictures, not for Instagram, but memories.

While we were staying in our homestay, it was a very different experience. The showers were very cold, my 7 year old host sister went to herd sheep and get hay for the cuy (guinea pig), my entire host family shared a room. This was very new to, my 7 year old brother is at home either watching TV or playing video games. But this just showed how different people live their life and it’s okay because each individual has their own lifestyle.

Growing up I never really traveled, only around California and Mexico (family lives there). But going to Peru, I was able to experience a “new world” with different foods, clothing, and culture. I loved every minute of it. One of my instructors, Colleen, talked about the different places she had traveled and it reassured made me about traveling when I am older. In a blog post, “I saw over and over again that individuals who invested time and energy in building human connection — having patient, empathetic conversations with their clients, constituents, and community members — were the most successful in their endeavors, and saw through the most meaningful changes.” I agree 100% with this because if you want to make a change you first have to live and experience it, to gain first hand experience. Then create the most ethical solution.

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With only a couple of hours away, I just finished packing. I can tell you it was hard trying to pack for a month will little things to bring on the trip, but somehow I manage to work with everything! As it gets closer I am getting really excited because there will be so much to see and do. I was so glad to have some close people come and say goodbye. My best friend, Lili came and gave me a goodbye necklaces, my brother Alvin came to get last minute things, my mom and I got our eyebrows done, and my cousin Emi and Amara came to help me pack! To be honest, up until this point I was whatever, like I just could believe it. But as it gets closer, it’s starting to hit me. I honestly can’t wait to explore all of Peru! read more →

With only two days until departure, it’s very hard to describe my exact feeling. I’m excited for the things yet to come, most of which I would probably never have experienced if it  weren’t for my opportunity to go on this trip. I feel butterflies in my stomach for the nervousness of knowing I will be put into situations that I have never been in before. I feel a sense of worry for the family and friends that will stay here while I go away for a month. Overall, my main feeling is ready; ready to dive in, ready to soak in as much as I can about my surroundings and experiences, and ready to make memories and open my eyes to everything in a deeper sense than I do at the moment. My last day home will definitely be with my family, as I say goodbye until late July and receive words of courage and good wishes for my trip. read more →

The food in Peru is a mixture of different cultures for an example Osso Buco Stew (Italian influence), Tallarines Verdes (Italian influence), Arroz Chaufa (Chinese influence), Lomo Saltado (created by Chinese people in Peru), Olluquito (Andean tuber, indigenous), Tiradito de Pescado (some say the dish’s origin was created by the Japanese in Peru). It is said the ceviche is the national dish of Peru and it is made for special occasions. It depends on what you make, for example, with ceviche it might take a little longer if you put certain spices, vegetables. Breakfast  is normally eaten between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, lunch between 12pm and 3pm, and dinner 8pm or later. I am really excited to try the ceviche over there because my family sometimes make is for parties. So I am thus wondering how different it tastes from the one my family make to the way Peruvian make it. read more →