Service-Learning & Community Service
- During the first week of January 2016, I traveled to Costa Rica through The Ohio State University Greeks Go Global Buck-I-Serv team. I indulged in an indigenous culture of Costa Rica, spending time in the rural community of the Bribri tribe, close to the border of Panama, remote from modern civilization. I worked in the village on service projects to help develop their community, economy, and living environment.
- I learned a lot about a culture and way of life much different from my own. I learned about this community’s different economic means than ours in the States, I learned how to make chocolate from cocoa beans, I learned what kind of food this culture eats every single day, I learned how to mix cement, among so many other things. While on this trip I also learned how to surf and how to white water raft, both of which I had never done before. I learned never to take your opportunities for granted, or the company around you. I can honestly say that this was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. Talking about it and even pictures will never do this trip justice. Working with and doing service for the Yorkin Bri Bri tribe community taught me so much about a different culture, and so much about myself. I not only helped to grow this community and the vision and dream they have of bettering their lives, but I also grew internally. I challenged myself and tried things out of my comfort zone, and it ended up being one of the best things that has happened to me in my college career and in my life. This community lives a completely different lifestyle than our own, but they never failed to be positive, happy people with a constant smile on their faces. This is something I definitely took away to apply to my own life- to stay positive even in the difficult times that life throws at you.
- I formed bonds with not only this community but with the people I traveled with. I did not really know any of the people I was going with prior to the trip, but spending 24/7 with them in this amazing country made us grow so close and I made amazing friendships and family. We made an amazing team and had a great group dynamic, allowing us to work so well together to get the projects completed. One key team builder was when we had to do the project of carrying sand bags from the river, to the community. This required us to make a human chain to fill the bags, pass them down the line, and dump them. We had to figure out where to place everyone and which task each person would have to do. We did this so well and I think it was because of the strong dynamic that we had. We still talk almost daily. It helped me to find another group of people at this large university that I can count on, get advice from, and hang out with. Typically, something like this is out of my comfort zone, and it’s hard for me to be in settings where I don’t really know anyone. Going out of the country with a group I didn’t know was something I was nervous about, and wouldn’t typically do, but I wanted to challenge myself and just see how it went. It all ended up being perfectly fine, and I learned that I can be outgoing in these positions and have it all work out. This helps with a bigger picture- that I can branch out more at Ohio State or in jobs or careers and join new things with new people that I don’t know, and it can be an incredible opportunity, to meet new, amazing people, and get new, different perspectives, and experience different team dynamics.
- As a future Speech pathologist or audiologist, I will be working with people of all different cultures and backgrounds, and this was a good experience for this. In this field, you have to be very culturally sensitive and understanding, and being exposed to the environment I was in definitely helped me to practice this sensitivity and respect for values and differences in another culture. I also practiced my Spanish skills, as this is my minor, and having this Spanish practice will help me better communicate with families of patients, as well as the patients themselves, that I may encounter in the future whom speak Spanish.