Foundation for Sustainable Development
April 22, 2009
I had the privilege of participating in a short-term internship with FSD in LaPlata, Argentina in 2005. I lived with a family of humble means and worked at a community center for low income citizens. I had grandiose ideas of heading to LaPlata to teach English in a creative and engaging way through the use of drama and speeches. However, when I arrived, I found out that my students were at a very beginning level of English. I had to rework my lesson plans and adjust my goals for what I wanted to accomplish at the school. Rather than function as a teacher, I ended up being more of a program evaluator. I observed how the classes were being taught and suggested ways that instructional sessions could be improved. I shared activities and games that could be incorporated into the curriculum. And thanks to the FSD grant money that I was able to use toward the organization, I provided the school with some very important tools to improve the English program. The resources I supplied had a big impact on the students and the staff at the school. The two young women that taught the English classes had both been university students with a concentration in English Interpretation. Neither of them had ever spoken to a native English speaker. You can imagine they were thrilled to get to practice their English with me! Those two gals became my very dear friends during my time in LaPlata. They invited me into their homes and shared their culture with me. I am still in touch with both of them (Nuria and Fernanda).
FSD did a wonderful job of supporting me while I was in LaPlata. They didn’t hold my hand through the process, but I knew that if I needed assistance, I could get support. Another benefit of the program was the friendship I shared with the other FSD interns in LaPlata at the time. We spent time exploring the city together and sharing about our experiences living with host families, blending into the culture, etc. I had a very rich and memorable time living and working in Argentina with FSD. FSD is the ideal solution for those who want to be culturally immersed and educated while sharing their skills/trade to a welcoming international community. FSD meets the need for those who can’t commit to the time requirements of the Peace Corps. FSD has also impressed me by their efforts to connect and support alumni from their program. It’s a very professional, relevant, effective and passionate organization. My internship in LaPlata is one of my fondest life experiences and I hope that I can partner with FSD as an intern again someday.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
FSD has had significant growth as an organization since I last served with them in 2005. It's impressive and exciting to see how much they have expended and how much greater their reach is into countries all over the world.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Make connections with as many universities as possible. I didn't complete a semester abroad when I was in school, but my internship in FSD was just as (if not more) meaningful. I think it's important for all young Americans to live and serve abroad.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
I spent 3 of the MOST memorable months of my life serving with FSD. My time in Argentina has had a huge impact on me in how I view other cultures and understand politics/culture in Latin America.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Experienced, supportive, knowledgeable adventurous and friendly.
Ways to make it better...
I had stayed for a longer period of time. I was also part of the pioneer group of interns in LaPlata, so there were still some kinks to work out for the program. But after a few years, I'm sure FSD has been able to develop a remarkable and effective site in LaPlata.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I was an assistant English teacher at a community center for low income citizens of LaPlata.