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.