Victoria Palacios, 17 | Alumni Ambassador 2018-2019 | Evanston Township H.S, IL | San Juan De La Maguana, DR

Going into this trip I didn’t know what I was gonna go through. I am a shy quiet girl and I didn’t know anyone on the trip. But quickly after I met the group. We all had a connection from the start. We vibed well and all got along which I was thankful for. As the time went by our connection grew even more, we became a family. Not just us but we also got along with our ambassadors as well as our program coordinators. We cared for one another like family and had the time of our lives.  I got to know so many new things about the Dominican culture but also about the cultures from the group. We found differences and similarities in our cultures. We had become so close quickly as a whole group we were all laughs and smiles but the day that brought us all closer was Global Business and Deconstructing Poverty.

It was one of the toughest days of our trip. From the beginning of our day it was already off, we had a couple of group members staying back due to being sick – no one had been sick in our trip till then. We went to the dumps and heard the heart-touching story of one of the workers in the dump – Leo. His words of wisdom stuck with me forever. “When you are born poor, you usually die poor, especially if you are like me, whose life has been moving backwards instead of forwards. Don’t be like me, whose mind has been slowly rotting away, and go to school and learn.” While there was a lot going on, it really touched my heart that he said that and really touched all of us. After leaving the dump many of us were in tears. It just wasn’t fair that people had to work in those conditions due to their lack of education. That whole experience touched our hearts.

When we got back to our hostel, the majority of us cried but all of us talked about our experience that day. We all were there for one another and just cared. That whole day was an amazing experience and definitely made our group much closer than we were. I am so grateful for all the experiences and amazing memories I was able to make in country with an amazing delegation.

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