Dania Taleb is a graduate of Summit Public Schools in San Jose, California, and a current Sophomore at California State University Long Beach. Dania traveled to Guaranda, Ecuador in 2019 and experienced her FIRST global travel experience with Global Glimpse.
“While I was born and raised in the US, I identify strongly as a Libyan American. I am the older of 3 siblings and like many immigrants, my parents came to the US so my siblings and I could have access to quality education.
Growing up, I focused a lot on school and building a connection with my Libyan background, however, I didn’t have the opportunity to really travel and see the world outside my home of San Jose. So when I first heard about Global Glimpse, I knew I wanted to do this but there were two problems I would have to overcome.
The first concern I had was the cost of the program and the second was convincing my parents. Thankfully, Global Glimpse was able to solve my first problem by giving me a scholarship to cover the costs which eliminated a big barrier. As for my parents, once they learned about the Global Glimpse program and realized that I would be with a group of students, teachers, and other GG leaders, they felt they could trust this opportunity and said yes!
I still remember getting my acceptance email and my friends and I went from class to class trying to figure out who all got accepted and who was going to what country! We felt so happy and excited that day! Fast forward a few months, we completed our pre-trip workshops and I was ready to go to Guaranda, Ecuador.
We had just spent months learning about Ecuador and once I was there, it was like watching everything I had learned about actually come to life! The first thing I was so thankful for was that we didn’t travel to a big city but instead, to a smaller rural town. I still remember Guaranda like it was yesterday. The beautiful indigenous community members we met, their stories, their voices, the traditions we participated in, and the food we ate was my favorite part about the experience. I knew instantly that I couldn’t have had the type of experience I was having if I hadn’t made this journey with Global Glimpse. We weren’t just on a trip, we were immersed in a new community and a new culture.
Another big part about my experience that I really appreciated was how each day students were assigned to be “leaders of the day” and there were spaces created for learning, sharing, and gaining a deeper understanding of what we were experiencing. We were having real conversations and sharing different perspectives, not just having fun.
When I look back on my experience now a couple of years later, there are two things that I’ve learned from my Global Glimpse journey that impact how I show up as a member of the US and global society. The first, is how I connect with other people. I’m not afraid to talk to people now who are different from me. I value deeply building relationships with others and genuinely connecting with people regardless of their age, background, etc. The second thing I’ve continued to carry with me has been how I approach travel from a learning perspective. When I travel now or even when I meet people from different cultures and communities, I treat these opportunities as a two way learning exchange. Global Glimpse has taught me that we aren’t meant to save people but instead, we are meant to learn together and grow together.”
Every student in our program, whether it’s their first time traveling or not, experiences many FIRSTS throughout their Global Glimpse journey. From building friendships between peers of different backgrounds to learning about a new community through immersive experiences, Global Glimpse aims to build empathy in young people with hopes that they will return to their communities with a newfound global perspective.
Your gift this holiday means so much to us as we work to safely return to travel and continue to build FIRST experience opportunities for hundreds of young people in 2022.
Thank you for your support and belief in the Global Glimpse mission! Wishing you and your family a very joyful holiday!