Farewell Journal


I’ll be back, Brazil!


The sign says “Welcome to Brazil!”

I can’t believe this is the last blog entry I will be writing for you! My time in Brazil has gone by so fast, and I wish I could stay longer. There are still so many traditions to experience, foods to try and cities to see in this country. I know that I will be back again soon, and I hope that I will be able to travel to Brazil to see the FIFA World Cup, an international soccer tournament, which will happen in Brazil in 2014.

Salvador, my home for four months!

I wanted to thank you for traveling along with me and letting me tell you about the exciting things I have learned while traveling. There are so many unique and cool things you see while traveling and it is so fun to be able to share them with someone. Thanks for listening!

I hope that you will all want to travel somewhere else in the world or somewhere else in the United States. After you travel, you will come back with lots of stories and pictures for your friends and family! Getting to study abroad in college has been my favorite memory, and I hope that you will want to travel and study in a different country too! If you work really hard in school and keep believing in your dreams, I think that anything is possible! Do you have any ideas of what country you would like to go to?

For my last journal, I wanted to tell you a little about what I want to do next in my life and how this experience in Brazil will help me.  While I was in elementary school, there were a lot of different jobs I wanted to have when I grew up, from an archaeologist to a fashion designer to a veterinarian. When I got to high school, I found more things that interested me, like history and current events in the world, but I still was not sure about what I wanted to do as a career. What kind of a job do you think you want to have when you grow up?

I will have so many great memories with my friends from Brazil!

During my junior year of high school, I got to go on a service trip with one of my classes. We went to New Orleans for a week in the summer to build houses for families that had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina. Many people’s homes disappeared in the storm. Ever since then, volunteers have come from all over the world to help out by building new homes where the old ones had stood.  I found out that building things is a lot of fun, and I learned to do things I never knew I could, like putting up walls and building a roof. The other volunteers were amazing, exciting people and I made a lot of new friends. During this week, my group built an entire home for a very nice man named John. He was so happy to have us there, and he cooked lunch for all of the volunteers each day.  Before we finished the home everyone wrote their best wishes for John and his new home on the walls before they were painted. On the last day we dedicated the house, John, his community, and all of the volunteers cried because they felt so lucky to be a part of the experience and to help John move forward in his life. Have you ever helped someone with something and felt good because of how happy they were?

Here we are, working on the house in Atlanta

Even though the days were hot and the work was hard, this week was one of the best weeks of my life, and I realized that I wanted to make an impact and do what I can for other people in need, like John and his community. I started to do more volunteer work, at soup kitchens, animal shelters and retirement homes. In college, I went on volunteer trips to places like Mississippi, Atlanta and Ecuador. I met great people and made friends with both the volunteers and the communities I worked with.

I also learned a lot from the lives of everybody I talked to. I decided that because I loved to help people so much and to travel and get to know new cultures and countries, I had to find a job where I could do both of those things. That’s what I get to do since I’m studying international affairs and global public health. In Brazil, I’ve been learning about life in another country, so that I can know more about people that might need help.

When I graduate from college next year, I want to be a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps. The Peace Corps is a program run by the U.S. government that sends volunteers to foreign countries for two years to help other communities around the world.

Me and the students I taught in Ecuador

After that, I want to keep traveling around the world, working with organizations that work to make the lives better of people around the world that live without basic necessities like money, food and medicine. I will get to do my favorite things, like travel, meet new people, and make a difference in other people’s lives. I’m really lucky because I will get to do something that I love every day at work.

I think that community service is a great thing that everybody should try. You can volunteer no matter how old you are, and you can do all different kinds of things. You can volunteer with animals, little kids, or the environment. Really, you can volunteer for whatever you are interested in! You can even travel to different places or go to new parts of town and learn how to do new things, like how I learned to build. Can you think of any way that you could do something nice for somebody else right from your classroom? You should try it out!

Finally, I wanted to include a special thank you to the people that have helped me connect to the classroom: my editors, my teacher Nichole, and my RTW intern Sofia. Thanks for your advice, encouragement, and direction. This has been such a cool opportunity, because I love talking to students and talking about my travels. This has also been an amazing way for me to document and reflect on my own travels and experiences as I go. I am so happy that I had this opportunity and hope that Reach the World can continue to grow and provide more students, both those in the classroom and those traveling, with this experience.

Volunteers with our friend, John, in New Orleans

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