Global Service Scholar: Susie Garcia
Country: Paraguay

Interning with the Global Service Scholar Program has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. From beginning to end, this trip was an amazing experience. All the friendships I made and all the things I learned have made me see the world differently.

My biggest takeaway from this trip was realizing that there is a whole world out there. A world full of different cultures, different people, and different sceneries. I’ve been stuck in a bubble my whole life and it wasn’t until now that I finally got to travel. Coming to Paraguay was the perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, meet new people and appreciate different cultures and customs. I got on the plane not knowing what to expect and I returned to the states in tears because of how much I loved it out there. I made wonderful friendships and learned lots of different farm work skills. Listening to the student’s life stories and hearing how afraid they are to continue their education after graduation made me relate to them a whole lot. I personally was afraid to apply to college. I never had someone to guide me, to help me with applications, or to help me be a first-generation student at UC Irvine, but here I am today. Having the opportunity to be like a guide to these students warmed my heart. I told them my story and gave them advice on how to apply and what to look for in a college.

This experience has given me lots of personal growth in terms of reminding me that nothing comes easy in life and that I’m blessed to be living the life that I’m living. Seeing the students working hard from sunrise to 5 pm everyday was impressive. Their busy schedules and constant stress was overwhelming. Despite all this, they were very respectful, sweet and overall nice people. Being part of DAR 2 and introducing pedagogical techniques also helped me become more comfortable with public speaking. All the staff and professors were very supportive and helped us accomplish our goals.

In terms of my future career plans, I still want to join the FBI and become a forensic profiler. However, I have gained lots of interest in juvenile delinquency because I have a sudden interest to guide the youth into a better tomorrow. I really enjoy giving students advice, tutoring, and helping them with college in general.

This experience as a whole has changed me for the better. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity!