Brave New Travelers: Leave Your Assumptions at the Airport

Nicaragua Travel Matador Youth Scholarship Essays
by Marcus He Sep 13, 2009
“My name is Marcus He and I am a senior at Gateway High School in San Francisco. I was able to travel to Nicaragua with Global Glimpse during the summer in July. It was a 3-week trip and every minute was extraordinary.”

I AM 17 AND I HAVE never been out of California except for China. Going there, I thought it was just going to be like any vacation trip, in a country but just examining it. With Global Glimpse, I was not only examining a culture but also actually experiencing it – from talking to the locals to playing soccer in a muddy yard of a small school.

You may or may not know that Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. Knowing that, you would expect the place to be dirty, trashy, and for the people to be absolutely miserable. Assumptions should stay at the airport.

I had thought the same thing, but actually, the people in Nicaragua are some of the happiest I have ever seen. It is true that a lot of people live in poverty, but what is shocking is that they enjoy life and are happy with what they have.

It really makes you reflect on how you are living your life. Personally, I take a lot of things for granted and this trip made me realize how much more grateful I am. I had some experiences I have never had before such as going to a Coffee Farm, swimming in a Volcanic Lagoon, visiting the American Embassy, taking Salsa Lessons, and climbing up one giant mountain where you can see all of Matagalpa. A challenge I thought I would have was the language barrier but many people know broken English in Nicaragua.

This trip has not just provided experiences and moments in my life I will remember forever, but also lifelong friends. I am a lot more respectful to the things I have and appreciate my parents so much more. Global Glimpse helped me widen my cultural experiences considerably and inspired me to do more traveling in the future.

I actually plan to visit Nicaragua after I graduate with some of the people I had met in the Global Glimpse program. This summer was absolutely one of the best summers I have ever had in my life. I can’t thank Matador enough for giving me a chance to go on such an amazing journey.

Community Connection

Do you remember your very first travel experience? Share your reflections with our Brave New Travelers in the comment section below.

Learn more about the Matador Youth Scholarship Fund.

Discover Matador