I’m your other GGL this year and I simply cannot believe our trip is upon us and we get to leave for Esteli in just a couple short weeks! My friend and Co-GGL Melissa and I are in the process of reaching out to each of you, and we are excited to get to meet you all in person soon! In the meantime, I wanted to give you a little info about me and why I chose to be a part of GG.

I’m a teacher at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon and I also coach Varsity Water Polo and JV Swim. I grew up in Martinez and went to UC Santa Barbara for my BA where I studied Art, History, and Asian American Studies. After entering the working world for a few years, I decided that my calling was the classroom and went back to school to earn my MS in Special Education from Cal State East Bay.

Upon completing my undergrad, I had what I consider to be my first formative travel experience– I backpacked through Europe for two months with some friends and explored 14 cities in 11 countries. Being exposed to so many people, cultures, and traditions was humbling, as for the first time I realized how incomplete my understanding of the world truly is.

That particular vacation was obviously very different than our upcoming trip to Nicaragua, but part of my desire to be part of GG stems from that feeling of wanting to learn more and develop a broader perspective of our global community. Last June I was able to visit San Cristobal in the DR with the program, and my experience there truly did change my outlook on life. It is nearly impossible to express how much love and respect I have for the small community of Dios Dira that hosted us, all the other local Dominicans that welcomed us so selflessly, my cohort of amazing and diverse Glimpsers, and the incredible fellow members of my SC1A Leadership Team.

The final major factor that made me want to be involved with GG is that many of the students I know that have participated in the program are some of the greatest people around. Although diverse in many ways, they are consistently kind, bright, inspirational, and conscientious individuals. Perhaps it is presumptuous of me, but I’m sure the Glimpsers of E1A are all just as phenomenal human beings and I can’t wait to share in this once in a lifetime experience with them. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Avianca desk in the International Terminal at SFO at 10:30 pm on June 7th!

Big Love,

Cyndi Oji

PS– The attached photo is of Melissa (left) and me (right) a few weeks ago after our last GG pre-trip training!