SIE 2017: Blog



As I sit in my classes in New England and outside it is 30 degrees, I can’t help but think about my Sophomore International Experience this past winter break. It was 90 degrees every day. The sun was shining. The cities were beautiful, and the experience was one I will never forget. From visiting an orphanage, kayaking down the Delta Tigre, or white water rafting through the Andes Mountains, this trip was nothing short of amazing.

Visiting the orphanage was one of those days that I will look back on for the rest of my life, and think of how incredibly blessed I am to be in the position I am today. It was truly a humbling experience. We started our day with helping around the orphanage with painting their gym, and bettering their community garden. The directors of the orphanage fed us lunch at our break after doing chores, and then we met the children. We met with around 40 children and they were some of the most beautiful humans I will ever encounter in my life. These children range from the ages of 5-17. They were malnourished, abandoned, and they had nothing—yet smiles never left their faces. They never stopped laughing, and they were so interested in us students. None of them spoke English, and only a handful of us spoke some Spanish. Even with a language barrier, that didn’t stop our interactions together. As we were leaving, one of the girls named Martha stopped another girl on the trip and I and gave us parting gifts as a “see you later”. Tears filled both of our eyes and we said our goodbyes. When we tried to pull away from their land, the kids all held hands and formed a human chain so we couldn’t leave—truly a beautiful sight.

Kayaking down the Delta Tigre was one of those days that I cannot put into words. In my 20 years of living, it may be one of the best days I’ve ever had. It was 93 degrees out, and not a cloud in the sky. We had an hour and a half leisure kayaking tour down the Delta Tigre. There were houses all around us, and little children jumping off their docks into the water. The scenery was so pretty that I don’t even know how to describe it. To end the day, we took an hour long boat back to our hotel. On that boat ride back to our hotel I thought to myself how lucky I was to be where I was and how beautiful the world and life is.                                                           

White water rafting was just an overall fun experience. Almost all of the people on our trip were there and we split up into several boats. We learned the rules of the water and ultimately put our skills to the test. We went through, over, and under major ripples in the water, hit a few rocks, and many got tossed out of their boats. It was pretty hard to take in the view of the Andes Mountains while we were all so focused on staying in our boats, but when we did have a chance, this view was absolutely stunning.

This trip was something I will carry with me for a very long time. I made endless friendships, countless memories, and I experienced and saw so many incredible features of the world that I still haven’t stopped talking about it. #SIELA17