On My Way

With three days left before I get on my flight to Nicaragua, starting my blog seems like a less scary prospect than packing the mountain in my room that I’m supposed to fit in a suitcase! It’s really challenging to write something about my experiences and how I’m learning from them without over-sharing.  Since this is my first post, I’ll share a little about what my interests are and what I hope to accomplish while I’m abroad for the next five months.

I really found my place at Wofford when I took a Spanish course that introduced me to the Hispanic community of Spartanburg in Arcadia. Everyone in the 303 courses volunteers for an hour a week with teachers or with the afterschool program. I began working on spelling and math with the first graders that are mostly English as a Second Language students. It’s hard not to fall in love with them and the community.  That’s where my growing passion for Spanish started to cross with my love for community organizing. Meanwhile, in my classes at Wofford, I found myself writing frequently about women and gender topics, so I took some courses on that. And that’s where I find myself—a feminist passionate about women in Latin America.

Reading some Junie B. Jones with one of the students I tutored at ARCH, Yitzel

Reading some Junie B. Jones with one of the students I tutored at ARCH, Yitzel

These three topics—gender, Latin America, and community organizing—are how I came up with my project proposal. Currently, Nicaragua is planning a canal, Mexico is leading in innovation sectors, and the United Nations commends the Dominican Republic for their efforts toward the Millennium Development Goals.  Despite this recent progress in Latin America, research shows that Latin American women still face significant challenges in obtaining education, surviving economically, and overcoming abuse and oppression. As an aspiring community organizer, I want to spend my time listening to stories of women and communities that have catalyzed change in their cultures, despite living in spaces that may limit their potential.

Argentina taught me to roll with the punches, and though “expecting the unexpected” still isn’t an easy prospect, I’m learning to worry less. The best lesson that Buenos Aires taught me, especially during my independent project, was to let the research guide me. I’m looking forward to sharing more here as my project is shaped!

Until next time,

Lindsey

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