My Favorite Memory: Everywhere I walked I was lovingly attacked by students. They would hug me and say “Miss Emma la amamos”!! I couldn’t walk anywhere without being hugged by at least one student. A few times students even lined up for my autograph. I brought a package of 200 letters and drawings from students back to the United States.
I was surprised that…. I never felt homesick once. I barely thought of home over the course of my trip. I was so occupied with volunteering and spending time with my host family that I only skyped with my parents once over the whole trip. I would’ve happily stayed another year.
The most difficult thing I experienced was….leaving. I learned the hard way that all good things must come to an end. My last few days
were so sad; my host sister and I sobbed in the airport. All of the friends I made sent me messages pleading that I come back. I made so many friends and have so many good memories. I didn’t want to leave.
My best received lesson… Chilean living standards are very good, but not the same as American standards. In the end I learned that we live excessively in America. We don’t need big houses, multiple cars, and central heating to be happy. I became very fond of Chileans’ more simple way of living.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) Time passes quickly. I’d recommend staying for at least one month. In addition, I only ended up wearing half of what I brought.
Personal Paragraph (Testimonial) Leaving La Serena was so difficult for me. I made so many friends (both students and teachers) while volunteering. I fell in love with my host family. Upon returning home, I found myself wanting to make jokes that only my Chilean sister would understand. I especially missed the two-hour long “sobremesa” after dinner. Furthermore, I found myself sprinkling Spanish phrases into my English. I feel as though I can only express certain feelings about my trip in Spanish. My ABV trip was probably four of the best weeks of my life. I know I’m going to return to La Serena to visit all of my friends.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Of course :)
Emma Volunteer in La Serena, Chile – Education Project
Volunteer Name: Emma Bendix
Project Location: La Serena, Chile
Program Dates: May 15th - June 13th 2011
Volunteered at: Education Project
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