A New Experience 

By: Gisselle Marroquin, 17

School: Summit Public Schools K2, El Cerrito California

Traveled To: San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic

Before Global Glimpse I had never traveled outside of California, neither by plane, car, or any method of transportation. This program gave me the opportunity to build leadership skills, travel to new areas of the world and experience the development of careers first hand. The first time I heard of Global Glimpse I was intrigued at being able to apply for an opportunity to go to a different country, learn about their culture and even learn and grow for myself. After applying to Global Glimpse, I was assigned to go to the Dominican Republic. There I experienced a new culture, different living conditions to the ones I am accustomed to, and met wonderful people from the bay area and from the Dominican Republic in San Juan de la Maguana. Thinking about the Global Glimpse program made me nervous at first, however, I took this experience as a learning opportunity for my personal growth. Since traveling with Global Glimpse was the first time I left my family, I felt kind of shy being with people I didn’t really know as well, but being put in that position helped me step out of my comfort zone and make new friends, ones that I still keep in contact with to this day. 

When interacting with the locals in the Dominican Republic during our community action project, I remember working in the town of Güanito. My peers and I along with community members worked mixing cement, pushing wagons of sand, all to create a group effort to reach the goal of building a volleyball court for the community. Interacting with the locals was fascinating and fun because they had many skills we lacked. Their personalities ranged from reserved to warm with clever stories. Culturally surprising difficulties were found during the completion of the project. 

I noticed that the male members of the community wanted us women to work on gentler jobs. This complication led me to challenge the gender roles that were deeply rooted in the culture, and take the initiative to overcome my diffidence and ask the workers for tools to perform these physically hard jobs. I found this a bit strenuous, but by doing this I encourage other members of my group with me to demonstrate that we could do the physically harder and more demanding jobs despite the cultural gender roles. During this process I felt proud of having this initiative and having the initial difficult conversation with my hosts and then accomplishing some hard jobs that women are usually discouraged from doing. But this action along with becoming a leader helped me grow out of my comfort zone and become more confident when speaking to others about issues that I care about.

Throughout my Global Glimpse experience I feel that I have grown as a person and as a leader in my community. One of the reasons for which I applied to become a Global Glimpse Ambassador was to have the opportunity of using my recent experience to help new students entering the program in my school community. Since my school is fairly new to the Global Glimpse program, I feel that supporting the second generation of Summit K2 students participating in the Global Glimpse program would be beneficial for them to understand more about what it is like to be in a different country. I, as part of the first generation of Glimpsers at Summit K2, would have liked to have ambassadors that could have guided us in our experience. Being able to speak to others that have had an experience I believe will help the next class enter this new experience with more knowledge and confidence in keeping their minds open to situations they might experience during the trip. 

Many aspects of the trip impacted my life and changed the way I looked at my own community. With Global Glimpse, my peers and I were taken to a community which didn’t have many resources. This made me realize that not everyone has access to necessary resources such as water and electricity and that not everyone has the same opportunities. It’s one thing to look at commercials on TV with communities that are in poverty and are suffering from lack of resources, but it’s very different once you’re actually seeing their position with your own eyes, you think about the community and the lives of the people that deserve better.