Last year, as a junior, I was able to travel to Costa Rica for two weeks with a small group from my school. While we had the opportunity to enjoy many of Costa Rica's tourist attractions, we also had an opportunity to visit the local schools and learn about Costa Rica's ecological conservation programs.
During the last week there, I had an opportunity to live with a local family and was immersed in the local language and culture. It was a challenging but amazing experience. Visiting the schools and interacting with the children was life changing and a highlight of my time in Costa Rica. It has inspired me to seek opportunities to continue to experience other cultures and volunteer my time.
It is for this reason that I have completed high school a semester early in order to spend the second semester traveling with a volunteer organization to Cusco, Peru. I will spend 5 weeks volunteering in local disadvantaged areas teaching English to children, building playgrounds and providing other much needed project support. Following my time in Cusco, I will spend an additional 4 weeks working with a jungle conservation project in the valleys surrounding Cusco.
The non-profit volunteer organization I have chosen is (IVHQ) International Volunteer Headquarters out of New Zealand. I have chosen this organization for its reputation as being supportive, affordable, safe and well organized. It also places volunteers where there is a real need so that you truly feel like you are making a difference. IVHQ also provides Spanish immersion classes while in Peru, allowing me to continue to strengthen my Spanish speaking skills.
Since I finished high school in December, I have been working two jobs until my volunteer start date of February 10th, earning enough money to fund my flight expenses as well as additional spending money. I also hope to purchase much needed school supplies for the children I will be working with.
To fund the organization costs, I am hoping to raise enough money to pay for the program itself through donations. The majority of the money I hope to raise will go directly to the country and the family that will be hosting me during my time in Peru. Very little is allocated to administrative fees and in-country staffing. This was very important to me when choosing a volunteer organization.
My goals upon completion of this program are to continue to advocate for volunteer programs, domestic and international and secondarily to be more fluent in Spanish.
I plan to attend CSU next fall and work towards a major in Spanish and Psychology, with a minor in International Studies. I hope to continue to travel and volunteer during breaks and summer vacations through Study Abroad programs at CSU.
The total cost for this 9 week program in Peru is $3,500, which includes the program fee, Spanish immersion classes, and a cultural enrichment excursion. If you feel like this is a worthy cause I would appreciate any assistance to aid in my quest to volunteer abroad. Thank You!
For more information about IVHQ please visit their webpage at http://www.volunteerhq.org/ or view their Facebook page at International Volunteer HQ.
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