I know it’s been a few months, but this past January, I had took part in a life-changing experience by traveling to Costa Rica with 17 other Ohio State Greek students through a trip called “Greeks Go Global.” During my trip, we stayed with the BriBri tribe and grew accustomed to their culture and way of living. They have such a simple lifestyle and really emphasized the importance of family in everything that they did. A few of the projects that we worked on over the course of the week were helping to build a chocolate factory and helping to create a trail down to a nearby river so that the tribe could more easily access this area for travel purposes and as a water resource. Outside of our service projects, my group took some time to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Costa Rica. We also went white water rafting and surfing, which I actually ended up doing a lot better at than I thought that I would. The best part of my trip, however, was the group of people that I went with. A few of them were my Delta Zeta sisters, but I didn’t know anyone else before the trip. We all had such great chemistry together and learned so much about each other while abroad. Overall, I couldn’t be more thankful for this trip. Not only did I spend part of my winter break serving a new community, but I also feel that I grew immensely from this trip and am excited to share my experience with others.
While staying with the BriBri tribe, one experience in particular stuck out to me. The day that we arrived, the whole community had found out that their leader was in the hospital with cancer. Although I have never met this man, I was told by many that he was a compassionate and influential leader to all that knew him. Then, the night before we departed to head back to San Jose, the community was told that their leader had passed away. This was such an emotional experience for my whole group because we had just spent the week having a great time with the BriBri people and getting to know them and their culture so well. They were such a happy group, so seeing people of all ages grieve together was not easy for any of us. I learned through this experience to never take anyone or anything for granted, and that sometimes listening and offering a hug is the most helpful thing one can do in a sad situation such as this one. I now have a newfound respect for others, especially those much different than I am, and am more motivated to bring back what I have learned to both my Greek chapter and the Ohio State community as a whole. By taking part in something such as a service-learning trip, you give so much, but you also gain so much from the experience. I am forever grateful for my Greeks Go Global experience, and I would not trade it for the world.