My senior year at Nazareth College has officially commenced! I am looking forward to a lot of different and exciting events to both plan and participate in. This past July, I traveled to Leeds, England and participated in various service projects, made possible through the Nazareth College International Volunteering Program. I could go on and on about all the amazing experiences I had. For now, I will just share the top four most exciting and memorable moments of this wonderful trip.
1. Leeds West Indian Cultural Center: Every year since 1967 a celebration of Caribbean Culture has taken place in Northern England. Arthur France, the founder of the Leeds West Indian Carnival, spoke to me, as well as four other Nazareth students, and a Nazareth professor, about the history of this immensely significant community and cultural event. As students we helped stitch Carnival costumes and listen to Arthur France’s stories surrounding his many years involved in the Carnival. We even tried on one of the carnival costumes!
2. Hollybank Trust: Hollybank Trust offers, “education, residential care, therapies, and nursing for special needs adults.” As Nazareth students we spent an entire week working directly with those with special needs that are very much limited with their verbal and physical abilities. As someone who had not had very much experience working with those who are disabled, this week was a truly transformative one. I was able both help and observe with both physical and communication therapies. We went sailing, spent an afternoon in the English countryside, and even danced with the residents of Hollybank. As someone interested in nonprofit organizations, I also spent time with HollyBank’s fundraising department, shadowing those who make it possible for such a wonderful organization to exist. I’ll never forget the experience or the individuals I met at this wonderful place.
3. Exploring London: After participating in various service opportunities in Northern England (even visiting York for a day!) we took the train London. For about four days, we tried to cram in every possible touristy thing you can do. From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, we saw so much! London is a beautiful city with so much culture and personality. I loved not having a set itinerary, but rather exploring and discovering the most wonderful things at my own pace. At some point in my life, I would love to take a trip back.
4. Birthday in Paris: I was fortunate enough to spend my 21st birthday in Europe. In preparation for my trip, I ran by the idea to others in my travel group that we should go to Paris. By some miracle it all worked out and at 4am July 21st, 2014 I was on a train to Paris! I could not have asked for a better day. I ate a lot of croissants and sipped champagne by the Eiffel Tower. It almost doesn’t seem real when describing it.
The entire trip was a great experience. I am so happy I could provide a small glimpse into my once-in-a-lifetime summer!