#KelsiAbroad – Taking a Risk, Making a Change

By: GoEnnounce Student Kelsi Brooks

I’m Kelsi, a junior Art major from Atlanta, Georgia studying abroad in Costa Rica for a second semester. I will be sharing my journey here on GoEnnounce as I explore Costa Rica. Please continue to follow my posts on Twitter with the hashtag #KelsiAbroad.

One of the most rewarding things to do while abroad is to serve the local community. On February 26th, my international program, International Studies Abroad, coordinated a volunteer opportunity at a local organization in San Jose dedicated to helping victims of abuse and prostitution.

Throughout the month of February, I had been promoting a campaign called the End It Movement to raise awareness about human trafficking and slavery all around the world. This opportunity to volunteer with International Studies Abroad was perfect!

The volunteer work that we did at Fundación Rahab was so worth it.
Volunteer work at Fundación Rahab was very enjoyable, and included playing with kids, showing them how to hit a piñata, serving them a snack, and having conversations with the workers about their lives.
Everyone who volunteered absolutely loved being with the kids.
The atmosphere at Fundación Rahab was so inviting and encouraged us to want to stay longer than we had originally planned.

We imagined what it would be like, to volunteer there on a regular basis.

We would be speaking Spanish all day, which is a lot more than the practice we got when we stayed on campus.

We would get to experience a changing atmosphere. To see the smile on the children´s faces when one arrived, to see the relief on their mother´s face when their child told them about their day, to encourage the team at Fundación Rahab with one´s help.

So we are making an effort to volunteer at Fundación Rahab on a regular basis.

As well as our time, we students donated some funds towards Fundación Rahab which we believe will go a long way.

Volunteering at Fundación Rahab went against the norm of our daily schedule as a student at Veritas University. Instead of studying for a test, working on a project, or watching television shows on our laptops, we students could make a difference in someone´s day. A student could encourage a hard working mother, a student could help a child learn English, a student could put a smile on a family´s face.

I feel like sometimes we underestimate the power of a student. A student who has passion and is willing to immerse themselves in another culture is an awesome agent for change. A student has ideas to be utilized, a voice to be heard, and a drive to see the world become a better place.

My  advice for other students studying abroad is to seek out opportunities like this in the local community. This gives you the opportunity to experience the culture in a different way than just sightseeing or hitting up all of the local iconic destinations!

Stay tuned for my next post and follow #KelsiAbroad on GoEnnounce & Twitter!

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