The University of the Pacific offers a Spanish Immersion Program during the summer. During this time students are able to go to Antigua, Guatemala where they receive one on one instruction 5 days a week. During the weekends they make trips to different places.
I became interested in the program because I wanted to improve my Spanish. As a native speaker I often struggle with the writing portions, especially accents. In addition my vocabulary is not at it's best because I often do not know the pronunciation of something, or the word for something, or if I do know most times what I know is the slang word. I felt that with one on one instruction I would be able to focus on the areas that I needed the most help, rather than just the general things.
In addition another aspect of the trip that intrigued me was that I would be learning about the Mayan culture. The school in which we would be studying is run by Mayans. There is even a trip in which we go visit the ancient ruins of Tikal.
Finally, while talking to one students who had gone on the trip the previous year, I learned about a volunteer opportunity in which students were allowed to stay for an extra week to volunteer. I am all about giving back to the community and was specially interested when I learned that the volunteering was done helping malnourished children. Not only do I love doing community service but I also enjoy working with children.
After researching more about Antigua and the trip and talking to several students who had gone on the trip the year before, I knew that I had to go. I spoke with Dr. Golsan about why I wanted to go and in addition I also spoke to Dean Sparks and we decided that this was a trip that would help me improve my Spanish and learn more about the Mayan culture.
While it was easy to decide to go I also had to raise money for the trip. There have been many people who have made my going to Guatemala on May 21st, 2010 a reality.
A special thanks goes out to the following who made monetary contributions so that I could make the trip.
Dr. Arturo Ocampo, Assistant Provost of Diversity at University of the Pacific
Mr. Jim Dugoni and the North Stockton Rotary Club
The College of the Pacific for the Pacific Fund Grant
The School of International Studies for the Travel Grant
University if the Pacific's Student Life for the Volunteer Grant
In addition a special thanks also goes out to the following people who have contributed a lot of time and hard work into helping make this trip possible,
Dean Edie Sparks, College of the Pacific
Dean Margee Ensign, School of International Studies
Dr. Katie Golsan
Dr. Traci Roberts-Camps
Joyce Del Porto
Mary Lou Tyler
The possibility of my trip was made possible thanks to the hard work and contributions from many people here at Pacific and in the Stockton community. I feel truly blessed to be part of this trip and to be part of a school in which the dreams of students are made possible, and in which so many people work together to make sure goals and dreams are met.
I am extremely excited and grateful that in 8 days!!! I will be flying off to Guatemala to experience something I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.
I would like to thank everyone once again and for those of you reading this blog, get excited for the best adventure ever!!