Travel Log 12 “Service” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

When I found out that one of the requirements for this class was to do community service in my new city, I immediately thought back to my days in Hebrew school when we often took trips to do community service work. In the Jewish faith there is a phrase “tikkun olam” which can be translated as “repairing the world”. So in Hebrew school, part of our learning and religious experience was to try to follow the values of tikkun olam by doing acts of kindness and community service such as planting trees and volunteering at a homeless shelter. Since having my Bat Mitzvah and becoming less heavily involved in my temple community, I haven’t done much volunteering and I have always regretted this. Especially following Hurricane Sandy and the destruction that hit my town, so many kind volunteers helped us get back on our feet and I longed for that satisfying feeling of helping those in need.

So as I began searching for places in London where I could volunteer, I tried to find a homeless shelter, as that was one of my favorite volunteering experiences from Hebrew school and unfortunately I have seen a fair amount of homeless people as I have walked the streets these past few months. However, I came to find that many organizations want volunteers to make a commitment of weeks or even months, and so finding a place where I could volunteer for one shift only was somewhat difficult. But then I came across Shelter From The Storm and everything fell into place. imgres.pngShelter From The Storm is a free homeless shelter in London’s borough of Islington, and is funded purely by donations. Their mission statement says, “Our mission is to house and support the homeless in London whoever they are, wherever they come from. Our vision is of a society where charities like Shelter from the Storm are no longer necessary.” They work to achieve this goal through providing housing solutions for guests that become involved with the program as well as helping provide meals, employment, healthcare, and counseling. Each guest at the shelter is required to come back every night in time for dinner and check in with the volunteer staff to make sure they are marked present. Once they arrive for the night they must stay until the following morning and are provided with beds in gender separated dorms, toiletries, showers, laundry services, as well as dinner, breakfast, and even sandwiches and small salads from a local chain called Pret a Manger to take away for lunch. The guests and volunteers have a very respectful, friendly relationship and that’s what I think helps the model work so well.

I would have preferred most to do a dinnertime shift at the shelter, but they only had spots open for overnight shifts and so I stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted it. I arrived at 8:30pm and stayed awake until midnight helping give out the last few meals, cleaning up the kitchen, and watching the doors to make sure there weren’t too many guests going outside to smoke cigarettes. After we turned the lights out at midnight and the guests were in their dorms, it was decided that myself and the other two volunteers would take shifts being awake and I was given the last one (4:00am – 6:00am) and so I got a few hours to sleep inside the office. The rest of the night was relatively uneventful and in the morning the three of us helped set up breakfast and put out the lunches from Pret, and we also washed dishes from the night before. It may seem like I didn’t do much or that what I did was “easy” but for me it was a truly insightful experience that lit a fire in me that I had left burnt out for some time. Seeing the more experienced volunteers interacting with the guests and seeing the relationships they had formed was inspiring. Homelessness does not make a person less important than those who are privileged enough to have a roof over their heads and proper meals, healthcare, etc. Everyone deserves a chance to get back on their feet and find a new job and a new place to live. Everyone deserves a chance at a good life, and this is the message Shelter From The Storm tries to convey through their work.

The photo I chose to convey the message of volunteering is two hands reaching out to grab one another. When people are in need and are calling out for help, even if it’s not always directly, we have to take their hand and give them the help they need. Richard Slimbach says, “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful7f25b399efa112b0fcdbadb8ed61d1b5_pics-about-space-clipart-hand-reaching-out_800-533.jpeg and mutually beneficial relationships.” Just like taking an overnight shift was me stepping out of my comfort zone, just volunteering in general is a step out of most people’s comfort zones. Unfortunately, there are some negative stereotypes associated with people who “occupy the margins of society” and people become afraid to help. But if we become involved and see that those people do not follow those stereotypes, we can begin to form bonds of respect and maybe even friendship, just like the volunteers and guests at SFTS have done. It’s through these bonds that we can help them make better lives for themselves by helping them get jobs and have a place to sleep at night, and they can help us by showing us the benefits of volunteering, and maybe teaching us a bit about ourselves and the word. All we have to do is reach out and grab the hands that are reaching out to us.

This connects to our definition of Global Community, because through volunteering we are “fighting for similar social values and basic rights” such as the right to shelter and the right to eat a decent meal. I think volunteering in London was very beneficial to me because it made me feel like I was more than just a passive global citizen just traveling in Europe, having fun and going to school. By volunteering, I became an active member of the community, trying to make a difference in my temporary home instead of just taking in the sights and taking photos that I can post on social media for my family and friends. It’s almost as though I’m leaving more of a mark on London than I would have if I didn’t do any volunteering. It’s a memory that I will keep with me and try to pass the importance and impact of volunteering onto other people who will study abroad in the future. This experience has also reignited those values of tikkun olam that I had left behind somewhere along the way when I was younger. I had forgotten how good a person could feel after helping others, and how even doing one small thing like a single shift a week can truly make a difference. I hope that I will stay inspired as I return home to the United States and I will try to find volunteer work that I can do in my hometown, or in New York City in general, this summer and when I return home from Quinnipiac for breaks. As a more active member of the Global Community, I can do my part in repairing the world.


(If you would like more information about Shelter From The Storm, you can visit their website


Travel Log 12 “Service” by Chris Wilner, London, England

On Saturday March 19, 2016, I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Older People Project at St. Luke’s church in Kentish Town, a borough of London. Once a month, usually on a Tuesday, members of the church organize a free lunch for the elderly who live in and around Kentish Town. There are around thirty members who normally go to these lunches and volunteers are encouraged to pull up a chair and spend time with the members. The organization wants the members to have an enjoyable experience every single time they are there. The members are quite elderly, isolated and usually either ill or disables. It is said that a result of this project is a lifeline for the members and they are very grateful.

This volunteering opportunity is not something that comes around very often as it is hard to organize an event that coordinates people from many different walks of life as well as people living in different arrangements and a multiplicity of ailments and conditions that may prove to be harder to deal with than expected. As much as you expect to be volunteering for this event because it is the thought that there is a lot to undertake for an ordeal like this, but I can assure you that this was probably the easiest task that I have undertaken. I thought I would be waiting on the members, running to get them coffee and tea as well as various snacks for them to enjoy, but it was quite the opposite. I can honestly say that they were not needy at all and all they were there for was an opportunity to get away from home, sit with their friends and catch up on some gossip. I think what the members really get out of this experience is another ear to listen as well as to learn something about a younger generation.

The key points that I will take away from this experience is the fact that older people are nothing but that, sure they may be old and some people may see them as needy, but we were also needy when we were children too. I think what I will remember the most is that it isn’t easy getting old, things start to stop working like your hearing or your memory, you are more susceptible to illness and the people you love either leave you because they lived long enough or they got sick and your family doesn’t have the time for you. All people want is to feel needed and through this experience the volunteers were able to give that to the members by allowing them the time to get to know them and the lives that they led. This experience changed who I am as an individual because it made me realize that the most important things in your life are the ones that you love and your health. I had the pleasure of talking to a woman named Patty who is ninety-three years old and I was astounded when she told me that. Not only did she not look her age, but also she didn’t act that way either. Talking with her, all I could think about were my grandparents and the conversations that I wish I could be having with them, not because they aren’t here anymore because they are but because I don’t speak to them as often as I should because I have a busy life but I know that they would like to hear about the things I’ve been doing. I guess this experience changed who I am because it made me realize that life is to short to worry about anything trivial like money and to focus on the people that may not be there tomorrow.

By partaking in this volunteer opportunity, I was able to see that through volunteering you are able to find yourself in another world that may not interact with the world in which you live. Volunteering gives you not only the opportunity to give back to the community but to get involved and maybe even make a difference in one person’s life whether it is big or small. I think by doing this volunteer experience I was able to learn a little bit more about the place that I am currently calling home from a generation that is very different from my own in the ways that they live their lives. Service work relates to the definition that we created as a class depicting the “Global Community” because it incorporates a shared living space with interdependent individuals endowed with universal human rights. Service work is related to this because it always traces back to people. Whether the work has to do with the environment or animals, people are the ones who committed the act or are the ones dedicated to making the difference so the interdependentness makes it so that everyone is related in a sense.

The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” –Richard Slimbach

old ladiesNot only does this picture depict the community service but also it incorporates the community that I serviced by partaking in this wonderful opportunity. I had the pleasure of spending a day with these ladies and getting to know them and the lives that they lead today as well as the lives that they left behind. The faces that you see in the image are faces that I will not forget because I was able to get to know their stories. They told me about the jobs that they held in the past, we talked about their families and even though it’s not polite to talk about it, we even talked about politics. The women that I spent the most time with, Patty, told me that our conversation was the most fun she had had in a long time and it was the most she had opened up to a person. The only thing she needed was an ear to listen and maybe someone to come up with some of the conversation topics, but I didn’t do anything special, I was just being myself and that’s and that was required. Service work doesn’t take much; it just takes one person willing to make a difference.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Jenna Paul. Cork, Ireland.

Right before I left to come back to America I got the chance to volunteer my time at a food bank in Cork called Cork Penny Dinners. I had been trying for weeks to get in to help, but with them moving locations and the holiday season coming up it got a little difficult. Luckily, my time came and it was the most amazing experience for me. Cork Penny Dinners was founded around the time of the Famine and started as a soup kitchen. They have one goal and that is to give a hot meal to anyone who needs one. On their website it states that, “We never judge, we serve.” It is very clear that they are there to help those in need and are open to anyone that needs a little help. When I arrived at Cork Penny Dinners, I was shocked to see how many people were there. Not only was the amount of people shocking, but also the people that were in there was shocking. I saw a few families with children and it really made me sad to think that these kids have to go through that. It made me appreciate my life even more and understand that not everyone is as fortunate. It truly was an eye opening experience.

Volunteering in general is such a great thing to do, but it is an even better experience while abroad because you can feel like you are giving back to a place that has given you so much. It is so important to be part of the Global Community and give back to the world. Community service has so many benefits, one of which is that it is completely free and can mean so much to the people you are helping. The fact of the matter is that we (study abroad students) come into these countries and are clearly so fortunate to even have that opportunity. Taking a couple hours to help some less fortunate people out is the least we can do. And also, it makes you feel so good inside that you could help some strangers out. For most, you can even make their day by just telling a joke or too as well. From this experience I had at Cork Penny Dinners, I will think more about giving back and helping the less fortunate. It is important to understand that some people were just dealt a bad hand in life, and they just need some extra help. This experience has impacted my life because I now can understand the importance of giving back and how much these people appreciate it. One man I was talking to while I was there could not thank me enough for giving my time and he was upset because he could not give me anything in return. I reassured him that I was doing this for myself and he did not need to give me anything. It was so special just to be there helping out in Ireland.

The picture I chose is of a group of girls with volunteer shirt on looking like they are enjoying themselves. Volunteering can be so much fun if you go with your friends or even if you just have the right attitude about it.images There are so many places in the world that need some help and all it takes is a little time.images.jpeg A quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states that, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” That is the best part about volunteering. It takes no special skills and doesn’t cost any money. All around the world places are looking for people to help out and after helping out at Cork Penny Dinners I will most certainly look for places around where I live. This day of service was a special day that I will never forget!



Travel Log 12:”Service” By Alexandra Borges. Cardiff, Wales

Unfortunately because of restrictions, I was unable to participate in a community service events, however I was able to interview a member of one of the organizations here in Cardiff that does service work. She is a first year that is part of the organization called Student Volunteering Cardiff, which is a registered charity here in Cardiff. It was formed by the merging of the Cardiff University Social Services (formed in 1969) and the Student Community Action (formed in 1971) in 2001. The Student Volunteering Cardiff allows the vision of the original student of both organizations to be carried on and will continue benefit future generations of the city.The Student Volunteering Cardiff organization has a plethora of projects ranging working with children and young people, in education, with people learning disabilities, with people with mental health, with homeless, helping environment and community, working with partner organizations, and many other opportunities.

Lucy, the member that I interviewed, is currently volunteering with the mental health project. When volunteering her and other volunteers go the hospital once a week to the mental health wards. Here, they chat with patients and play games with them, establishing a relationship with them. They talk to them first couple of weeks to build trust and bond with the patients, that way later on they are able to plan activities that the patients will feel comfortable participating in. I’ve asked Lucy what her experience has been thus far. She told me that she wasn’t completely new to working with mental health patients because she had done something similar to this type of volunteering before. However, she still expressed that it was still a little nerve wracking at first even though she knew what to expect. She said it was nerve wracking because when go and talk to these people you worry that they might not like you or might not be very responsive towards you. However, she said it has been going very well and plans to continue volunteering through SVC the remainder of her time here at Cardiff University. Lucy is a psychology student here at Cardiff University and expresses that by volunteering she gets to see and explore the different areas of mental health in connection to her studies. Ultimately, she says really loves volunteering to help these people, she wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I was really bummed that I couldn’t actually participate in any community service while abroad because back home I volunteer at my church whenever I can, it would have been an awesome experience. However, I can understand and relate to Lucy’s thoughts and feelings. Drawing from my past experiences, I can relate to Lucy’s experience.

Previously, I have helped/volunteered in many different projects, but feel that the experience that best matches Lucy’s would be my time at the Kennedy Donovan Center back home. I volunteered/helped at this facility, Kennedy Donovan Center, which was a school/ daycare for physically and mentally disabled children. I was very nervous my first time volunteering there, for fear that the children would not take kind to a stranger or me in general. However, my fears were put to ease at once, when they swarmed me and bestowed me with hand made cards. Just talking to them, reading to the, and even just giving them your attention is enough for them. They were absolutely precious and the experience was just eye opening, to see children with such incapacitations overcoming them with this overwhelming happiness. It makes you realize things you take for granted and also how much courage and strength they have. If going to visit and spend time with them raises their spirits then I’ll continue to do it. It was definitely an experience that I will never forget. I can’t begin to explain the feeling I get when I help people, I can’t describe it, you just feel good. There is a sense of gratification knowing that even if it’s just one person you have made, even if its small on the grand scheme of things, a difference. The benefit of this type of service to both sides

I think that when we discuss terms of community service and global community there is an automatic connection, its one of the most direct ways to enact a change in the world. I mean it literally is the essence of community, people joining together to help those in need or to help people in general. People often think that giving people something physical that they need is always the answer, but often listening to someone and raising their spirits has an even larger effect on the community. The benefit of the world’s future generations, are guaranteed through these selfless acts of community service. This is a major way to support the global community. I think from the things we have experienced abroad and the knowledge we have gained, whether through our experience or through the research we have done (i.e. Half Sky documentary, etc.), our class definition of global community has changed for the better.

“Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world–that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me– is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life”. – Albert Schweitzer

I think that this quote goes with this picture because it really captures the essence of a volunteer. They give of their time to and for others. They are truly gifted people not because there is anything special about them, but rather because they are filled with so much compassion and will to do good. The only thing to do then is to give of themselves to others. By this selfless act they save and encourage the community to follow in their footsteps, making them truly a gift. Giving without wanting or needing anything in return because it is simply the best way for them to show their appreciation for the Life all around them.


Travel Log 12: “Service” by Jared Walsh. Barcelona, Spain.

Recently I volunteered at a local school along with a few others from Quinnipiac in the QU301 course. My program, API, was kind enough to set up this opportunity. Throughout the semester they’ve continued to offer us various volunteering opportunities so we can give back to the community that has been gracious enough to host us while we study abroad in Spain. At the school itself our official titles were English teacher assistants. We helped the teacher and interacted with students through various activities. It was a great experience to be able to help the people of Spain learn our language. They even helped us a little with our Spanish so it was a win-win. It was an awesome experience, and I wish that I had volunteered earlier on in the semester so I could have participated in this program more than once.

Volunteering is something I believe that everyone should continually do throughout their lives. The experience you get from giving back to your local community is invaluable. It not only can put things into perspective (such as if you’re helping the homeless or volunteering in a hospital), but it also allows you to make a difference within your community. I’ve volunteered quite a bit back home in the United States. I’ve put in hundreds of hours at Rhode Island Hospital doing various tasks over the years. While that has been a rewarding experience, volunteering abroad had an even more special feeling associated with it. At the very beginning of this course we discussed our definition of a Global Community. One point that all of us had agreed on was that it consisted of individuals who work together for the betterment of the community. Volunteers act as an integral part to the success of a community. Getting involved helped me to feel more connected with community. I know I’ve shared on this blog before that I’ve felt a little separated from the locals, particularly in my area of residence. Even a few weeks ago we had signs taped to our doors saying, “tourists kill our neighborhood.” But after volunteering I feel a little better about being a part of the Barcelona community. The students and he teacher were so appreciative of our attendance. It made me feel like I belonged. It was a great feeling to give back to the local community here in Barcelona. I was more than happy to give my time and knowledge to these students.


The picture that I have posted is of Lovisa and I in front of the school that we volunteered at. The quote that I chose is by Slimbach, which reads, “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” This quote is a great depiction of our service to the students at this school. We created a mutually beneficial relationship with the students in which we helped them with English and they helped us with Spanish. This whole experience definitely caused me to venture outside my comfort zone because it isn’t something that I would normally do.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Nicoline Lovisa Tegnell. Barcelona, Spain.

The community service event that I chose to participate in was one that was organized by the program that I am here with, API. API set up an opportunity for us to volunteer at a school as English teacher assistants. We were able to go into an English class and help the teacher as she taught an English class, we were even allowed to read some passages in English and to help with pronunciation of many words. The teacher explained to me how important it is for these Spanish students to learn English because it will help them so much both now and later on in life because  English is such a common language and a language that is spoken by almost everyone. For example, if these students travel to the Czech Republic and do not know how to speak Czech, they will communicate with the Czech people in English. At the school, English is required for students and I was very impressed with how well they were able to speak English. The experience that I had with these students was one that I will never forget. I felt like this added so much to my study abroad experience because I was so nervous before volunteering because I felt as if my Spanish was not very good but the students were so reassuring and even helped me with my Spanish while they were all learning English. The students were so excited to have me there and were so enthusiastic about learning English which made me so excited to be there and made me want to go back.

Since being here, I have noticed the Spanish people are much more openly touchy with each other. When greeting each other, everyone gives besos, or two kisses, one on each cheek. Even boys will greet other boys like this, which is very different from the United States because in the United States boys never show affection towards other boys because it can seem as being “weird” or almost “weak”. I like that people are so open about touching and greeting here because it is so much more personal and sweet. It makes me feel so welcome everywhere that I go. I definitely find myself adapting to being more openly touchy because before coming here I really did not like a lot of touching because I am a bit shy but I have really adapted to giving besos and have even learned to love it, I think many other students feel  the same way as well.

There are so many benefits that we all gain from volunteering, especially abroad. The most important benefit to me was the satisfaction I felt from volunteering. I felt such a sense of pride and importance, it felt nice being so appreciated by these students. I also felt like I learned more about the Spanish culture because I was able to see how a classroom was run in Spain and what students are like in classes as compared to American students. The classes were a lot more easy going I found than American classrooms. I also feel like volunteering abroad is beneficial because I gained language skills during this short experience. If I was able to volunteer on a weekly or biweekly basis, I think my language skills would improve tremendously. I also think if more people volunteered abroad this would help to eliminate so many stereotypes because people would be able to get such a deeper glance and perspective in the people of a certain country or area, which would go toward our class definition of being a Global community.

There are many things I will take from this experience. The first is how much I love volunteering and how much I think that everyone who travels abroad should take the time of out their trip to volunteer. This will give everyone a much less “touristy” experience and a much more deep felt experience because they will see so much more into the culture of the country they have entered into. Also, something I will take from this experience is how much I love helping people and how I know I am in the right major. Being a physician assistant will give me so many more opportunities to help people and opportunities to help people abroad which feels so good. The picture I have posted is one of me and Kristen, who also volunteered, in front of the school we volunteered at. This picture and experience reminds me of the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” I feel as if by serving, you become great because when you help other people you are doing the most important thing in the world that you can do.


Kristen and I in front of the school we volunteered at. Fall2015.

Travel Log 12 “Service” by Kristen Sullivan. Barcelona, Spain

Three weeks ago, I volunteered as an English teacher assistant for young students along with Lovisa and Jared. We found out about the volunteer opportunity through our study abroad program, API. They were looking for a few students to assist in the classroom and teach an English lesson. After living in a country where the language is primarily Spanish and Catalan it was really nice to know that they valued English and our input in the school. We were all really excited to teach English and interact with the students.

Throughout high school and college I have done a lot of community service work, but it was all in my local community. This was like no experience I had ever had before. Because I am not from Spain, it was so interesting to volunteer in a different community. Unlike if I volunteered at a school in the United States, the students looked at us like we were from another world. They were so infatuated with how we talked and what we said and it was a really amazing feeling to be able to show them a little bit of our language and American culture. We assisted the teachers with lessons in English and helped students individually. It was a great experience to work with the English teacher as well. It was amazing to see students that knew how to speak Catalan and Spanish and were learning English. It makes me realize how much European countries put an emphasis on speaking multiple languages.

This community service was so personal to my experience here that it impacted me a lot. After living here for the semester and taking in all of the Catalan and Spanish culture, it felt good to give back and share some of my knowledge. In addition, I felt like I had made a small mark on the place I have been fortunate enough to call my home.

In our QU 301 workshops we talked about not just thinking of what our new home can do for us, but what we can do to make a positive impact as well. Slimbach poses the question poses the question, “Having generated all this energy to understand and potentially mend the world, how can we actually harness it to protect and positive impact the cultures and environments we visit?” (Slimbach 9). Slimbach discusses the importance of leaving our positive impact on the new cultures we visit and live. Volunteering definitely allowed me to fulfill that mission. One of the best ways to feel part of a community is through volunteering in it. I felt like I was giving back to community that I had given so much to me. I have learned so much from studying abroad and from living in Barcelona so it was the least I could.

This is a photo of me and Lovisa outside of the school where we volunteered. As a Physical Therapy major, I never knew if I would enjoy learning languages and teaching because it is not something that is part of our curriculum. However, I really loved this volunteer opportunity and it opened my eyes to something new that. I think that is another positive aspect of volunteering. Sometimes when you do something outside your comfort zone you discover new things and passions. I would love to work with the students again. I am so thankful for this experience and it is something that I will always remember.

Travel Log 12: Community Service, By Marc Capparelli. Perugia, Italia

I chose to volunteer at the Orsini’s agriturismo located in Passignano sul Trasimeno to assist the family with vendemmia, which is Italian for the grape harvest. For those that are not familiar with the term agriturismo, it is an Italian word (agrotourism in English) combining the words agriculture and tourism. The Orsini family gives foreigners from all over the world a chance to see a different side to the Italian life: those living on a farm and working the land. The Orsini family’s main products would be wine, olive oil, pastas, and even different types of beans. However, when I think of the Orsini’s, the local community doesn’t necessarily jump into my head. While the family makes Umbrian products, the only thing they do with them is sell them to the public. If anything, they strengthen what it means to be a family and work together. That being said, I feel that the Orsini family plays a large role in the global or international community. People from all over the world come to stay with the family to help them. When I went with a few students from the Umbra Institute, we all came together and joined hands with the Italians. They discussed things to us about how their typical day goes on the farm and what they do in certain parts of the wine producing phase. Additionally, we were able to practice our Italian with them. This experience was much earlier on in my study abroad trip, and so being able to listen to them speak as well ask try and speak back definitely helped in strengthening my basic Italian language skills. All in all, it was such a fun experience helping out picking grapes, talking to the Italians on the side of you or across from you in the vineyard, and enjoying a nice Italian lunch made by the family. This experience gets people from all over the world to achieve a common goal. That goal may not be human rights but this is something that brings us closer together. While this isn’t exactly like our definition of a global community and instead of rights our goal was ‘grapes’, I thought that was pretty cool that we all came together from different places and became a team.

Looking back on this experience, I always find it amazing how different life is for everyone. This family does this all year round, meeting people from all over the world and hearing different people’s stories. I’d imagine (and expect) that the Orsini family wholeheartedly loves what they do. It is such a simple, Italian way of life. It really made me think about how I have so many choices in life and that there are endless possibilities. I’ve met so many different types of people here in Perugia and they all have their own story. After this experience, I’ve wanted to get to know as many people as I can and hear what they have to say. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to live in another country for so long, so it’s important to me to make connections and hear about people’s lives while I still can. This is why Slimbach’s words mean so much to: “The first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society…to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships.” At home I’m more reserved, but in Perugia I like to establish relatiFB_IMG_1443373349620onships and talk to a lot of people. In this way, I step out of my comfort zone to create something special.

The picture I chose for this post is a funny one of a friend and myself on t
he vineyard. I am holding a near-perfect bunch of grapes while my friend smiles in the background. It was a fun time.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Jill Berlant; Perugia Italy

Last month it was harvest season for grapes, this is when it is time to pick the grapes off the vines so it can start to be turned into wine. I was fortunate enough that my school had asked if their were any volunteers that wanted to donate their time to helping a family outside of the city center, to harvest their grapes. I decided this was something that I really wanted to dIMG_2912o so I went with a couple of new friends. I am so delighted that I went to help out because it is still one of my favorite days I have had in Perugia. The family lived on a beautiful big farm that over looked the enormous lake in Perugia. They had many different types of grape vines and had many animals on the farm. They had dogs that just gave birth to puppies, ducks, peacocks, and horses. We were able to play with the new puppies, we all wanted to take them home. After the tour of the farm, nonetheless we started picking the grapes; we filled buckets and buckets with grapes. We would first load up our own buckets of grapes and then dump them into a tractor to the move the grapes to a certain area. We were allowed to taste and try the grapes while picking which was very rewarding. About half way done we stopped to learn about how the wine was made, they taught us how the grapes sit in big barrels and how it first turns into juice. We got to try the juice before it turned into wine and then after during lunch we had soIMG_2885me wine. Lunch was a four course home cooked meal. They food kept coming and it was delicious. The family that took us in treated like we were apart of their family, they were so kind and made so much food. It seemed as though it was never going to end. Then after lunch we went back to harvesting the grapes, I was working right along side with the grandfather; he was an older gentleman that was still helping the family tradition. The family and us volunteers work as a team and even though I cannot speak Italian I still felt welcomed and felt very involved.
By getting involved in the community it made me feel like I was a local. I did not just feel like I am a tourist and visitor. I felt like an Italian, because this is something that is ritual and a huge part of Italian culture. I am happy to say I was apart of that experience and apart of making Umbrian wine.

I will take away from this experience to always give back to the community and try to get involved. The more you get involved the more you are making that area your home. It is very rewarding to know, I helped this family. They are able to pick their grapes faster with us and will not have to be out in the fields as long because we helped.

A quote that Richard Slimbach said is “the first step in this journey is to venture outside our comfort zones and get involved directly and personally in the lives of others, especially those occupying the margins of society… to create respectful and mutually beneficial relationships,” I think that coming out of your comfort zone really is the first step in this whole journey abroad. I am a city girl but I ventured out to an Italian farm submerging myself in Italian culture, which I am not used too. I felt involved in the society of Perugia and would like to try to get involved this month with oil harvesting.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Ben Raymond. Brisbane, Australia

Although I was unable to join a service organization at this time, my good friend Nick who lives in Brisbane was able to give me some insight to ways he actively helps the community. Nick has always been a huge fan of netball as a kid, and to this day, plays a few times a week. For those who don’t know, netball is a very popular sport in Australia which has many similar characteristics to basketball. Along with playing the sport regularly, Nick also volunteers at one of the city’s YMCA facilities, where he teaches children from ages 6 to 12 the fundamentals of netball. Nick explained to me that giving back to the community is very much the way of life in Australia. He said, “at a young age most of us are taught to be generous and charitable with our time.” Along with teaching children the fundamentals of the sport, Nick also used to coach a children’s team at the YMCA. He told me that the skills you learn from managing a team, as well as making friends with all of the great kids is reward enough to volunteer your time.

Moreover, while observing the surrounding community, it is clear that the facial expressions and body language used is actually quite similar to that used in the states. For instance, a normal greeting between two male friends is normally just a handshake (no European kissing on the cheek). The only time the body language and expressions differentiate from the American norm is if the two friends happen to be quite close. In this case, Australians are known to be much more rough and physical with each other. If you find yourself at a bar in the city, and two mates bump into each other, you better stand back, because things are going to get physical. This ranges from pushing, to punching, to picking each other up like newlyweds. As you can imagine, the entertainment factor is quite high for foreigners like myself. This is most likely one of the harder aspects of body language for my fellow Americans and I to get used to.

Living in a foreign country, there are many benefits to getting involved and volunteering time. While devoting time, one is able to see the core of the community, and how people from other cultures show gratuity. Also, generous acts solidify international bonds which create a strong global community. Although I only temporarily belong to this community, it is my duty as a globally aware citizen to do my part in making the world a better place, no matter where I am. If everyone had this mindset while abroad, I feel that the connections between countries would remain strong. Global responsibility is contagious – if a member of the global community makes an effort to make a positive impact, others are likely to follow suit. This is why it is crucial for somebody to take the first step.

One major point to take away from my talk with Nick is that devoting time to help others provides equal benefit to both you and the community. As the volunteer you develop a unique stet of skills that will prove to be beneficial in the future, as well amazing relationships with like-minded people who are also interested in improving the overall status of the global community. Hearing Nick’s story certainly made an impact on my time abroad. I now know that in any community throughout the world, there are always people who are willing to give back. It is such an amazing feeling to know that people around the world are all working towards a common goal to help their own communities, and furthermore, creating awareness to give back to the global community.

Below is a picture that Nick sent to me of some of the girls at his YMCA playing netball. The quote, “everyone can be great, because everyone can serve” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. connects quite perfectly with the picture I have chosen. The service that Nick has provided for these children, has highlighted his potential greatness, and has also caused him to become the amazing person he is today. Serving others is one of the greatest things one can do for their community. And although this may only be on a local scale, every small action is just another step in the right direction to achieve global unity.