Hernaci’ona Henry is seventeen years old. This summer she traveled to Nicaragua with students from other parts of the Bay Area with a non-profit organization called Global Glimpse.

WHILE TRAVELING OUT of the country I was very scared because I never experienced other countries. I went out there with an organization called Global Glimpse with help from the Matador Travel Scholarship. Global Glimpse gives students the opportunity to travel abroad.

I got to travel with 8 other students from my Leadership Program called Coro Exploring Leadership. My reason for traveling was to soak up Nicaraguan culture and bring it back to my country to share with my community and also to give Nicaraguans a taste of my culture.

When I arrived to Managua, which is Nicaragua’s capital, it was hot and my first reaction was this is going to be a tough trip that I had to get used to for three weeks with other students I didn’t know.

I have a lot of memories from my once in a lifetime trip. My first memory would be meeting a student who attends William C. Overfelt High School in San Jose. Her name was Shelby Hope and I didn’t even know that she would be my roommate while on the trip. It was the first time I’ve ever lived with someone that I didn’t know.

My second memory is of having to live off $1 a day for a full day. I really enjoyed that because I got the chance to walk in another person’s shoes that has to overcome so many obstacles to eat everyday. This was really eye opening for me. I realized how hard it is survive of a $1 a day. My third memory was taking a trip to Matagalpa’s city dump, which was very sad to me because I’ve never seen so much trash and animals as long as I’ve been living.

Being there at that moment of time made me think of how much I complain to my parents about the smallest things I don’t have and honestly I don’t need them. The citizens of that developing country would love to have half the things people in the states have.

There were a lot of situations that I was put in during this trip that forced me to step out my comfort zone. There was a time when every student had to be a “Student Leader” for the day and they had major responsibilities.

When I got the chance to be the student leader I was nervous because it was my job to put my peers to sleep, tell them all the time frames of events, and lead them to lunch and dinner for a whole day, which I never did before.

I had a few challenges to face and my biggest ones were meeting new people, rooming with girls I didn’t know, and not being able to call home to talk to my family. I’m very close with my mother and this was the longest I’d ever be away from her.

My major accomplishments were meeting locals in Nicaragua and gaining more and more knowledge from interviews from local organizations and guest speakers. From time to time I thought about what lessons were learned and I’ve learned to not judge a book by its cover no matter what because you may assume the wrong thing about others.

Now I see the world as being a big diverse map of life full of changing experiences and full of surprises and that’s why I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I see the world in a different way now.

Back at home I really missed being in Nicaragua because I met so many new people that were different from me and had all sorts of different backgrounds and personalities. Even after a week back home, I wasn’t used to the weather in Oakland because it wasn’t anything close to Nicaragua’s climate. I had to get used to what was going on in my hometown.

Also I brought back souvenirs from Nicaragua to give to my family and I explained to them what each one meant and stood for.

As a high school senior, the trip has made me a whole new person. When I got home I called a lot of my friends and family to tell them about my trip. Every last person told me that I sound more mature and I use different words and have bigger ideas.

I would like to tell other youth that haven’t had the opportunity to travel to not
let people tell you that you can’t make it or pursue your dreams because all you have to do is make a plan and go forward and you’ll make it.

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.