A Global Glimpse, through service

Adam Frommer, Staff Writer

12 rising seniors traveled to the Caribbean and South America for two weeks through Global Glimpse, a partner program with the school in which students participated in service learning and cross-cultural immersion.

Global Glimpse aims to foster a sense of community through students from various high schools through travel and service, according to its mission statement. “While abroad, this group of learners explore history, culture, politics, poverty, education, development and business in a developing country,” The website said

The Office of Identity, Culture and Institutional Identity (ICIE) organizes the trips, which the school funds. Students apply in December of their junior year, Irati Egorho Diez (12) who traveled this summer to Constanza, Dominican Republic said.

“HM is honoring its commitment to offer interested UD students, regardless of income, an opportunity for global travel tied to a service learning initiative,” Dr. Kelly said. Over the past three years of offering the trip, ‘Glimpsers’ have returned more engaged within the school, particularly in service beyond one’s self, he said. “That type of engagement has an impact on all of us.”

Jessica Thomas (12), who traveled this summer to Chitré, Panama, applied because she hoped to participate in service and international travel during the summer, she said.

For Egorho Diez, service trips were a bit out of her comfort zone, she said. After practicing service in terms of political activism, she wanted to try to affect people on a more personal level.

During the day the groups did a range of activities such as exploring the local market, going to the grocery store, hiking, and teaching English at a local school, Wilder Harwood (12), who traveled to Riobamba, Ecuador, said.

Students chose from trips throughout Ecuador, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. Every day had a different theme, and students participated in activities that followed a different subject. During “deconstructing poverty” day, Thomas visited landfill where she learned that some people spent all day collecting items to sell to private recycling companies, she said.

Egorho Diez’s group spent an afternoon working like locals at a cucumber factory. “We got to see everything that got done behind the scenes,” she said. “There are women whose entire job all day is to make sure our cucumbers are perfect.”

Each trip culminated in a Community Action Project (CAP), Thomas said. Her group worked at the Panamanian Institute for Special Training, where they painted a classroom, constructed tables specially designed to help the kids focus, and cleaned or repainted some of the gates around the school, she said.

A central component was the idea of discovering the community’s needs, Egorho Diez said. The projects began with each group asking a community where they could help, and the students continued with a dialogue alongside the beneficiary to form a plan.

“As people who have the luxury of being privileged, we have a history of going into impoverished communities and just doing what we feel they need help with,” Thomas said. This superiority complex can be damaging when a party’s assumed needs are not their real needs, she said.

For Natalie Baer (12), an unanticipated lesson came from her own peers on the trip about the diversity that exists within the United States. “Although we are all from the New York area we lead very different lives, and I think it’s amazing we all had the opportunity to meet and learn about a new culture together,” she said.

The trip raised Thomas’ confidence, she said. “I noticed that I was speaking a lot more, asking questions, reaching out, opening up, and participating in activities that I wouldn’t normally do.”

Egorho Diez said she hopes to involve herself more in service and take the attitude of discovery-style service back to the school, she said. “You don’t do service unless the people you do it for are part of the process