Cara Fischetti - 2016 Program Participant
What inspired you to go abroad?
Travel has always been a passion of mine, but so has helping others. When this trip was first offered at my school, I could not refuse. I was able to combine my two favorite things in one way. Also, I wanted to find myself, which I most certainly did. Now, I am hoping to travel long into my life and work as a women and children's rights defendant, attempting to stop overseas the cruelty that is sexual assault. Meanwhile, I love to write, so I'd hope to record my experiences as a journalist.
Why did you choose Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions?
This program was all about helping young children at an underdeveloped primary school. First, I enjoy working with children and exploring education systems all over the world. Second, I wanted to make a change in someone's life - but I never expected MY life to change so drastically, as well.
What was your favorite part about Jamaica?
If I have to choose one, my favorite part about Jamaica is the general happiness of all its people, despite what little they may have in their life materialistic-wise. This gratitude is a trait I brought home with me and hope to spread to all my friends back here in the States. I think it's just a really good thing to remember that what is going on in your life is not the worst thing in this world. There is so much we do not understand because we can't see it right in front of us. Things always have a bright side, you just might need to dig deep for it.
What made your experience abroad unique?
The most unique thing that made this experience in Jamaica so memorable was the amount of color in the cities. Whether it was a conference center or a convenient store, buildings and their trims were always popping with color, making these areas look like a rainbow.
Much love to these wonderful kids
How was the local staff at Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions?
The local staff were so incredibly supportive! They would cheer us on when we reached our goals, bring us back up during the lows, and dance with us during karaoke!
Without the wonderful staff, I never would have been able to absorb the culture the way I did.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
If anything could be different, honestly, it would have to be taking less photos and living in the moment. Jamaica is a beautiful country filled with photo ops, but nothing was better than being amidst it, taking it all in by heart.
Describe your average work day.
We would all wake up bright and early and eat a breakfast together before heading to the primary school for the day. At school, we would lead morning lessons, play with the children at recess, run lots and lots of races before a lunch of chicken and rice. In the afternoon, we would pray in unison and lead an activity back in our classes.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
During free time, you could find me pondering my day and journaling on the deck in the hammock. It overlooked flora, fauna, and mountains. The beauty awed me beyond compare. The time I spent out there really let the entire experience sink in.
How was your accommodation? What did you like best about it?
We had convenient and comfortable accommodation. Unlike some people in the country, we were able to come home to warm beds at night. With that said, the room assignments helped me bond with new peers that I may have never talked to otherwise. The best part, though, was the new food. We were treated to traditional Jamaican cuisine every night at dinner. As a self-admitted foodie, this was a paradise!
What should people know before signing up to teach abroad with Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions?
If you choose to do this program, know that you will leave a completely different person than you were when you arrived. You will leave more grateful, inspired to serve, and be optimistic in nearly all situations. The bonds you will form with the children are eternal and unbreakable, though your heart may break when it is time to say good-bye. Get ready for lots of hugs!
What was the biggest lesson you learned teaching in Jamaica?
My time abroad has impacted my life in every aspect. As mentioned, I am definitely a more grateful person and am more interested in giving than receiving. I can now see how complex and advanced our lives are, and that people are still unhappy. I take what I am given now, and try to find ways in which it can bring me up to my full potential.
Would you recommend Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions (JVE) to others? Why?
Absolutely! Jamaica Volunteer Expeditions is a company built on positive ideals and the workers are willing to help in all ways possible. I will never forget the friends I made from JVE. Yes, reunions will be necessary!