To imagine that we are just a week away from our departure is exhilarating! Working abroad is a valuable experience for any student and an opportunity that I will value throughout my education and career. As an International Development student, I have been exposed to countless case studies related to the hardships of those living in underdeveloped countries. Poverty fuelled by rural isolation is a common problem that far too many communities struggle to overcome. Being a member of the Bridges to Prosperity team has been an enlightening experience that has presented me with so many new opportunities. I’ve built strong relationships with a diverse group of peers who all share the common goal of alleviating the pressures of rural isolation, which hinders community development. This project is an outlet that will enable me to take the knowledge and skills that I have developed in the classroom, and put them to work in reality.
There are countless organizations dedicated to supporting underdeveloped communities around the world, but Bridges to Prosperity’s commitment to enriching the lives of students and communities across different cultural backgrounds is the main factor that first drew my attention to this team. Our support does not stop at building a pedestrian bridge. Rather than simply providing the community with the necessary infrastructure, our team is devoted to improving the lives and sustainability of these communities now and in the future. Together we recognize the value of this cross-cultural experience. Most importantly, I have come to recognize that while there are many resources and skills that we can provide to the community, this experience is a two-way street. I’m looking forward to engaging with the community and being exposed to the indigenous values, skills, and knowledge that is unique to the community of Coiyuma. I can only imagine how much we will all learn from the community over the course of this experience. Overall, from this experience, I hope to gain the skills to ignite positive social change without compromising the cultural integrity of diverse and unique communities around the world.
It takes a unique experience like this one to spark innovation. Bridges to Prosperity has become a vital player in my transition and success as a first-year university student. As I embark on this journey, I open my mind and my heart to the new experiences that await me in Bolivia, and the eternal imprint I will forever carry from this opportunity.
Hasta la vista!