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AileenMcGraw

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Review for Foundation for Sustainable Development, Oakland, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

They call Cochabamba, Bolivia "The City of Eternal Spring." My choice to intern abroad with the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Cochabamba truly involved me in an eternal spring. My experience brought fresh ideas into bloom, grew global relationships and showed me the power that local communities hold.

Fresh ideas in bloom: FSD welcomed and immersed me into the Cochabamban community. I engaged in a new environment with support and guidance from FSD's Site Team. Program Director Mauricio gave sage wisdom, and with his help, I experienced not only public transportation adventures on some of the most brilliantly colored buses I've ever seen, but also the chance to ask strangers for directions in Spanish and challenge myself to rethink how I commute and communicate (and embrace getting lost in the meatpacking market along the way!).

Growing global relationships: My work as a Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) intern created connections with a global reach, and the relationship that truly defined my summer was the one I formed with my home-stay family. Countless stories and jokes were told over early morning and late night tea with my madre, padre and hermano boliviano, all of who shared their love of their city and their country with me.

Local community power: In Cochabamba, big things happen through small but strong efforts. My FSD intern project drew from within and grew from face-to-face interactions instead of the usual text or email. I learned to ask not what a community needs, but rather how we can build upon the assets that a community already has.

FSD is an incredible nonprofit that thrives because it honors its mission for community-driven and implemented change at every level of the organization. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at FSD's San Francisco headquarters. The office provided an incredible experience of grant reviews, marketing and staff discussions, and I feel so lucky to have an FSD story that spans two continents with one organization.

Role:  Volunteer