Dear GLA Students,
Reflecting over our time together in this tropical paradise that is the Dominican Republic, I feel proud of each and every one of you and your accomplishments on this trip. You challenged yourselves and pushed your boundaries, made connections with each other and with the communities here in Barahona, and learned about important aspects of sustainability and human security here and at home in the United States. As an educator, I am always amazed by the academic and personal growth students achieve through international education experiences, and my only wish is that you keep exploring, questioning, and learning about global issues and social and economic inequalities. You are now truly global citizens!
As a community of learners, we supported each other in learning about the Seven Elements of human security and applied it to our sustainable service projects. I remember our analysis of the Seven Elements among our own communities, Cocos de Abajo, and el Cachote, deepening our understanding of development work and our conception of poverty dynamics. We had an excellent overnight trip to el Cachote, where we conquered a mountain hike and bonded around the fireplace.
We started a sustainable, bottle-building project at a community school, and we were exceptionally proud of the quality of our craftsmanship and attention to detail. I remember fondly our pool hangouts, singing on the bus, and our last day at Bahía de las Aguilas. My favorite memory was the ride on the safari truck up the mountain to el Cachote, passing incredible views and arriving in one of the world’s last remaining cloud forests. We excelled in our capstone projects as well, proposing innovative and creative ideas to community development problems. It was truly an unforgettable experience!
As you read this letter, I hope that you’ve transitioned successfully back into your daily routines in the United States, but not without analyzing the impact of our actions back home on the environment and on the global economy. Never forget what you saw and learned here in Barahona, and never, ever stop learning. We are global citizens now, and it is our duty to promote awareness of global issues and build consciousness about injustices, at home or abroad!! We wish you the best of luck, wherever life may take you, and hope that you remember with fondness and fire your time here in Barahona, Dominican Republic!
Amelia (with Ben, Sarah, Madison, and Heather)