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Vanessa Lee is an eight-week Caminos Volunteer in Monte Cristi. A Minnesota native, she plans on attending Winona State University in the fall, where she will study medicine.  This is her story.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I signed up to be a Caminos Volunteer.  I’m glad I didn’t, because it has turned out to be an experience greater than anything I could have imagined and certainly something I will never forget!  I have experienced so many amazing things this summer, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my internship has in store.

In my opinion, one of the best things about being here long-term is being able to see the students’ progress through the summer.  These kids have such a strong desire to learn English; their potential amazes me every day.  As far as my personal growth, I feel much more confident in my Spanish than when I first arrived – thanks to the great resources Outreach360 provides.  I have also had the opportunity to take on some fun leadership roles that I wouldn’t have had the chance to do anywhere else.  Getting the opportunity to live in a different country before starting college will make such a big impact on how I see the world when I go back to Minnesota.  I have definitely fallen in love with the Dominican culture during my time here.

I also enjoy being able to apply Outreach360’s ten principles to my everyday life.  My favorite principle is “Communicate Love”.  I think this is very important when teaching English as a second language.  It’s also important that we communicate love to each other, as volunteers of this organization, and to the community of Monte Cristi.  Even with a language barrier, everyone can understand the power of a smile.