The due date for the travel abroad application ended up being the week after Spring break, and I didn’t realize this until Spring Break was a week away. That meant I had two weeks to fill out an extensive application, have two professors write recommendation letters, and figure out which Spanish program and place to study is best for me. Once I realized all the paper work I needed to do and the big decisions I had to make with the little time I had to finish it all, I thought about not going at all. But Lycoming’s coordinator of global education, Philip Witherup, was very helpful and understanding of the small time frame and my other obligations and assured me I could get everything done, but I had my doubts.
I started the paperwork before I traveled to the Dominican, just in case I really did want to travel abroad, and honestly that was the best decision I made. While in the Dominican I met children who were excited to play with me and contained all the patience in the world when I spoke with them in Spanish. I met mothers who were so thankful to receive food portions that would allow them to feed their family for an entire week. I went to the public schools and I spoke with teachers who allowed me to conduct exercises with the kids in Spanish. I traveled to a private school where I met a principle who knew every story of each child in her school and allowed children to attend her program no matter what their financial standings were. I realized that with Spanish I can learn about another community's culture and communicate with them so that I can better their lives because all humans on this earth matter.
The LACES trip allowed me to see the world with a different pair of eyes, and it reminded me why I love Spanish. Without my experiences in the Dominican Republic I wouldn’t be writing this article in Spain and I wouldn’t be majoring in Spanish either. Take it from my experience: never doubt yourself or think it’s too late. Trust me, you have time and you can do it. There’s a reason why you want to travel, either because you had an experience similar to mine, you want to find yourself, or your looking for a new passion. You can do anything you put your mind to and I’m just a living example of that. My college career deserves a huge thank you to the administration and professors of Lycoming College that provide opportunities such as the LACES trip.