Emily B - SJU in Peru 2015
Why did you participate in the experience?
I participated in the SJU in Peru because I was working towards my Global Experience Certificate, which requires a cross cultural volunteer experience. Similar to most GEC students, I love to travel, but unlike my fellow SJU in Peru students, I had never experienced volunteer travel before. I decided to participate in the experience because it was a form of travel I had never done before, and I was excited by the opportunity of stepping back from being a tourist and becoming a student of another culture.
What did you learn through your experience?
Travel in the form of a learning initiative is an amazing way to build respect, to eliminate prejudice, and to cultivate an open mind. I learned the importance of listening. I realized what a small part of the world I occupy, but also how that should not stop me from aspiring to make a difference. I realized that I don’t have to make a grandiose gesture to change the world because this form of travel will impact the lives of others, and if you let it, it will change your view of the world forever. I learned of my privilege in this world and with that, my responsibility to help others who are not as fortunate as me. Not because they need help, but because they deserve the same opportunity that I have to create a life that they love.
How can you see this experience impacting your life moving forward?
My experience in Peru has allowed me to become part of a world community that I am now constantly learning from and participating in. Since travelling to Peru I have taken on many more adventures with similar intentions of listening, understanding, and helping where I can, both internationally and locally. This experience changed my career path as well; I am now looking into jobs such as Intercultural Communication and Responsible Tourism because my time in Peru inspired me to choose a life of giving back. This experience forced me out of my comfort zone and popped my bubble of ignorant bliss, and for that, I could not be more thankful.