Nine years ago this April, I spent a week in Nicaragua. I lived with a host family in La Ceiba, a community that hosted thirty college students. One night, we walked down to the basketball court that doubled as a street soccer pitch. The local boys played as the girls watched from the bleachers. When they eventually invited us to play, we sent out mixed groups and, at one point, an all-girls team. It was an interesting moment – a challenge of cultural norms – that happened often during that trip.┬áNicaragua changed me. Our upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic will change you.

I’m Brian Walach and volunteered to lead a Global Glimpse trip this year through my role as a math teacher at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut. If Connecticut is a rectangle, Greenwich is the wonky square sticking off at the southwest corner. Greenwich has the reputation of being a rich kid suburb, and while this is somewhat true, we have a diverse population of students. There are super-mansions and low-income housing and a wide range in-between. I currently teach a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) course (Precalculus and Physics) in a program at our school called Innovation Lab. We are trying to smash classes together and do projects instead of a test every three weeks. It’s fun!

Me at Pomme Frites in NYC.

I travel often. Nicaragua was my first international experience and, since 2009, I have been to twenty-six more countries. I travel mostly for leisure, but my volunteer experiences in Nicaragua – and later Guatemala – affected how I travel. I like to meet people, learn about what locals do, and explore. I make a point to understand those living in the places I visit. I take local public transportation. I take time to educate friends about places like El Salvador and Colombia, which have the reputation of being dangerous, but are wonderful places to visit. All of my actions and experiences as they relate to travel are a result of the Nicaragua trip and this is why I volunteered to be a GG leader. I am excited to share in this experience with you.

A selfie at Machu Picchu in Peru in 2014.

See you at the airport!