Jack Stalzer

I am a seventeen-year-old high school student who, in my Junior year, was really looking forward to a productive, eventful, and exciting summer, as I realized that my high school career was coming to an end. My Spanish teacher informed our class about a service trip opportunity to go to Nicaragua. This really caught my attention because I thought about how this trip would be a great experience for me and the perfect addition to my summer plans, especially considering the fact that I had never been out of the country before. Thus, I jumped at the opportunity to go on this trip and experience a different culture.

I appreciated the fact that the trip was a community service trip and that I would be building a house and helping out families and locals. However, until the trip itself, I didn’t think that it would be so essential to the experience as a whole. This all changed once I arrived. After the first day, it was easy to see that we were truly helping the community in a way that will impact me for the rest of my life. The community service aspect of the trip was carried out in an innovative way because this trip wasn’t simply a bunch of Americans going down to Nicaragua to act like saviors by helping out a family in Chacraseca. Instead, it was a trip in which we worked together with Nicaraguan citizens to help people in the community in a collaborative and productive manner. This way of carrying out charitable work struck me as the best way because it involves the community and the people’s concerns so that the work is constructive, efficient, and sustainable.

Besides the charitable work we did on the trip, I was able to partake in the Nicaraguan culture and really open my eyes to the world. We saw numerous sites that were breathtakingly beautiful, educational, and exciting. I began to see the views of the Nicaraguan people, especially pertaining to their history. I improved my Spanish by communicating with people in the different places we visited, which made me more comfortable with the language and inspires me to learn more Spanish.         Furthermore, I enjoyed meeting all the other people on the trip and I had a great time with them, making the trip even better.

This trip to Nicaragua opened my eyes to the world in a way that has taught me so much about a different culture and about how to successfully work in conjunction with a group of people in order to achieve a desired outcome.

-Jack Stalzer