Yup, I am a certified volunteer! I spent the entire days of last Thursday and Friday at the universtiy, in a 20 hour mandatory volunteer class. When I heard that I had to complete this class in order to volunteer, I am not going to lie, but I was extremely annoyed. I have volunteered since the 1st grade when I joined the Girl Scouts (ok, that was just singing Christmas carols at the nursing home…) but I have continued to do different volunteer projects in Evanston, Chicago, Worcester, Mexico and Appalachia. Throughout high school and my two years at Holy Cross, volunteering and reflecting on it, has been a huge part of my life. Therefore, coming to Spain, I knew I wanted to involve myself in a volunteer program for my ICIP. So I just told myself to suck it up, go to the class and try and be open minded.
When I arrived, there were about 15 other students in the room. Of course, the first activity was going around the room and saying our name, major and volunteer project. Obviously, when it was my turn, everyone turned their head and looked at me like a confused dog with their neck turned to the left. Yes I am the only American and yes, I want to teach (Spanish) to immigrants. As the class went on, everyone was extremely nice and helpful in explaining some of the discussion concepts-in a more-basic Spanish. The first few hours of the class we discussed the worldly injustices that are so prevalent in our society, the causes of them and possible solutions. As a peace and conflict studies concentrator, I was extremely interested and excited by this topic. For the remaining hours, we discussed our motivations, risks, benefits and love for volunteering. It was so nice to be discussing issues of social justice, solidarity and volunteering with a group of students my age. Until now, I had severally missed the spirit of community service and social justice that is so prevalent at Holy Cross and now, thousands of miles away, I have found a similar community.
Dato Divertido: I am not sure if this is a fun fact for the entire country or just specific to my host family, but I have yet to eat the same meal for lunch (the big meal of the day) twice since I have been here! Sure we have similar dishes, with the same kind of meat, seafood, vegetable, or spicing, but each time, something is different and of course DELICIOUS! While I have missed the long Kimball meals, the salad wraps in Xroads and my real mom´s cooking, I must say, that I am a big fan of Spanish food. Currently, it´s 1:45 pm and since we eat around 2:00 Marieta is cooking something delicious smelling in the kitchen…I wonder what it is!