One thing that surprised me the most upon my trip to Guatemala was that many things I thought would be easy to me weren’t. I thought with my Spanish speaking background I would have a better chance at maintaining conversation and getting what I wanted to say out clearly. It turns out that wasn’t 100 percent true, 100 percent of the time. It was more than just a language barrier, it was a culture barrier. I think it in turn forced me to work harder to connect with people, and made every conversation and connection that more important.

I have grown so much in just those mere 2 weeks. When you are in a country with no one you know, you really learn who you are. You learn how you interact, what you can bring to the table, what you can change, and what you shouldn’t just for the benefit of others. There is a saying that you know a person by how they treat the people that have nothing to give them. I am now confident in my intentions and will forever be humbled.

This trip definitely made me consider what being a global citizen is, and what could happen if more people had been on the same trip as I had been. I am now, more than ever, interested in pursuing a career in travel journalism. Being in Guatemala further showed me that there is never one side to a story, and in that lies a story. I’m hoping this career will lead me to many experiences like the one I was lucky enough to have in Santa Clara, and forever give me the materials to share new ideas of different places to anyone who will listen. read more →

In the beginning of my project I had this very abstract idea, or thesis, that I thought was going to lead me to dramatic and intense findings. I thought my trip to Guatemala was going to be a Nicholas D. Kristof-esque type escapade of critical journalism.

That was not the case upon my arrival. After a long relaxing day of shopping and sightseeing in the beautiful place that is Antigua, it became more and more apparent to me that the amount of days that I would actually be spending with my host family would only be about eight. This was hardly enough time for the idea I had planned in mind. It also didn’t help that the answers to my questions never seemed to be answered “correctly”, or lacked specifics.

I knew that in order to have a presentable piece I needed to narrow down by a lot. So I did. I chose three things I wanted to learn about in the Santa Clara La Laguna community: religion, health, and crime. That was a major way my project developed or changed during my stay. The challenges I am facing now are more along the lines of organization and research. I feel unprepared with just my 20 minute interviews and I think it would be beneficial if I had more of a background in each area before I present it to a body of people that will only ever forge an idea about Santa Clara based on what I show, or fail to show. I especially wished that I got more information on the crime aspect, however, I don’t think the patrolling cop cared much for my greeting let alone two or three recorded questions. That is what I am hoping the research will cover. I am, however, really confident in the area of health and religion, so that is something I’m looking forward to.


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