Brave New Travelers: My First Time Away From Home

Travel Matador Youth Scholarship Essays
by LaTasha Bankhead Sep 13, 2009
LaTasha is seventeen years old and a senior at Mandela High School in Oakland,CA. She was one of 11 students who received the Matador Travel Scholarship and traveled to Nicaragua this summer with a non-profit organization called Global Glimpse.

THIS SUMMER I WENT to Matagalpa, Nicaragua for 3 weeks. It was a scary experience for me at first because in all my 17 years of living I have never left my home of Oakland.

Before I left to go on my trip I was nervous because I have never rode on an airplane before, and I have never been away from my grandmother for that long. In fact, she was one of the main reasons why I went. She motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and experience new and exciting things. I’m glad she gave me that push because If she hadn’t I don’t think I would be as open and appreciative like I am now.

Traveling with Global Glimpse was a fun experience for me because I had the opportunity to make new friends and make old friendships stronger. When I first arrived to Nicaragua I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and it made me kind of scared because I don’t like being in the clouds.

But as the day went on I felt more at ease because all the people who surrounded me came with nothing but love and positive things. From that day on, every day was an adventure in itself.

My three most memorable experiences were teaching English classes, visiting the dump and having nightly self-reflections with my group. These things are most memorable to me because they helped change me for the better from how I think to me being more open to others.

The biggest lesson I learned while in Nicaragua was you can’t have everything you want, and the stuff you do have is a blessing because most people don’t have what we have.

Since coming home I found myself being more conscious of the little things, such as not getting more food than I’m going to eat, valuing my education more and helping more out around the house. People always ask me would I recommend traveling to other students and I say YES because it’s a fun and exciting experience that challenges you to step out of your comfort zone while having fun and making new friends.

Community Connection

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