Experiencing new and different cultures is a given on any study abroad experience; however, Go Global’s unique service opportunities in all locations give students the chance to dive into local communities to understand their way of life. Read below to hear how Amy Newton, a junior at Appalachian State University, was feeling during her first visit to the townships.
When driving through the townships I looked out the window and saw things I never thought I would. My eyes were filled with the amount of trash that littered the streets, the terribly skinny dogs roaming about, horses grazing in empty fields and small children walking around by themselves with absolutely no supervision. I witnessed a woman grilling chicken feet and children chasing our bus as we pulled up to the first Amy Biehl center, and this was when the happiness struck me.
When I walked off the bus, the air was filled with the loud music the children were playing and the clapping coming from the smallest children keeping up with the beat. A smile was immediately plastered on my face. This is what I had been dreaming of experiencing for months before the trip. The children performed songs and dances that are apart of their culture and later pulled students from our program out to dance with them. As we danced around in circles and as each child clung to different students the next feeling followed the immediate happiness.
Watching these children dance and sing was the most impressive thing I have probably ever seen. I was fascinated by the swiftness of their dance moves and how in sync they were with each other. Also, the level of skill that each child had for the instruments at the center was incredible. These children had more talent that I have in my pinky finger.
The impression I gained from watching these children resulted in utter amazement. I thought about how little each of these children have but yet they were still so happy and welcoming to us. In the US we take things for granted everyday but I watched as these kids took advantage of every instrument, every dance, and every song and place all their passion in to the one thing that they loved the most, whether that be an instrument or a dance.
When it was time to leave the township I became filled with desire to fast forward to service week when I would be able to experience the life that these children lead on a day to day basis. In the first five minutes of the 2 visits I felt an immediate connection to the children and I cant wait for the week where I get to build relationships with each and every child I come into contact with.