I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia with Amizade in December 2011. Myself & 5 other volunteers helped to further the construction of a community center and visited an orphanage (on New Years Day no less--it was the most inspiring and beautiful way to kick off the new year). We met so many amazing individuals, experienced different traditions, cuisine, and sites--all in 10 days! I would not hesitate to recommend an Amizade experience. I would love to go on another trip in the future, and to see Bolivia again.
I served as a faculty member for an Amizade trip this summer. it was an incredible experience (for me AND my students)! Amizade's staff could not have been more supportive, helpful, thorough, and generally amazing. Amizade's values for global education and engagement were so powerful and consistent - I wish that every student who went abroad had the kind of experience that Amizade facilitates.
What a fabulous trip! From the moment we landed in Arizona until we arrived back home, it was an experience of a lifetime. I traveled with several students to Tuba City, Arizona. Our goal was to help the Moenkopi Senior Center on the Hopi Reservation. My students pulled weeds, shoveled dirt, all with a servants' heart. It was fun to see them interact with others and be outside of their own comfort zone. Everyone we came in contact with were very helpful and courteous. It has been almost a year since our trip and the kids are still talking about it. Amizade did a wonderful job with transportation and accommodations. I can not wait to plan another trip.
I took part in an alternative spring break trip this year in Tuba City Arizona. We stayed on the Navajo reservation and while there I had the opportunity to work in the Tuba City Boarding school. The experience was nothing short of amazing. The faculty and staff were great to work with, and the students were so incredible they made it hard to leave. Their energy, their attitudes, and their spirits were inspiring. My favorite experience outside of the school was the sweat lodge. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. I believe the best way to learn about something is to go out and do it, and thats exactly what we did. This trip changed my life, my views, it expanded my horizon and increased my passion for volunteering!
I traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland with Amizade in December 2010, as part of an International Alternative Break through Central Michigan University. We spent a week working with local Catholic and Protestant youth, painting murals with messages of peace on gates dividing the two communities. A week was not nearly long enough--I loved the people who guided us through Belfast, and want to know more about such a beautiful part of the world!
My experience at the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, Arizona was amazing. The Navajo culture is so rich, and the opportunity to work at a woman's house, the Boys' and Girls' Club,and the Tuba City Boarding School was really something unique. It was an experience I will never forget and left one of the biggest impacts on my life and my views on diversity. There is no better way to experience diversity by living and seeing it first hand. The Navajo Nation left a lasting impact on how I view the world and it's diversity as a whole.
My experience in Bolivia (semester 2009) taught me to view the members of my service communities not just as poor people needing the help of affluent Westerners, but as intelligent, able agents for change who simply lack the necessary resources. This is an element of international service that I feel is absolutely essential and yet often overlooked. In addition to my service, I have gotten to know a number of the staff members personally and find them hard working and sincere in their dedication to the organization's principles.
Amizade provides an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange and global service. Local people at their sites are able to learn more about American culture, while American university students have their horizons expanded and learn that many of the ideas and values they thought were universal, are limited to certain cultures. Through Amizade, people learn more about the world through service to others.
I worked with Navajo children in Tuba City, AZ. While I was there I learned about their culture as compared to the "average" American and issues they face. I was touched by this trip and felt connections to the people I met there that can't be read about in books. The event that most impacted me was partaking in the sweat lodge there. It was a spiritual, emotional, community experience I wouldn't trade for anything. This trip has directly influences my drive for community service and global awareness.
I have worked with Amizade since 2002. We have taken over 100 people to a very remote rural region in Tanzania to work on projects like: building an orphanage, providing water collection and distribution, service to a hospital, a variety of long term service for NGOs, etc. The students who have served in the various capacities have returned & contribute more in their local communities than they did previously. For some this experience has changed the direction of their life.