Global Service Scholar: Lazaro Vargas
Country: Paraguay

Before departing to Paraguay, I thought I would get homesick and depressed since I would be living for a month in a different country that was very far away from home. Moreover, this would be the first time I would be traveling outside of my country on my own. Little did I know the opposite would occur. Paraguay became like a home to me. Despite being known as one of the poorest countries in the world, I saw nothing but happiness from the people who lived in this country. Everyone I encountered was very humble, kind, and gracious. I learned that money isn’t everything in this world. What truly matters is the strong bonds one forms and the moments one spends with family, friends, and loved ones. This made me reflect upon what I had in my life and it made me appreciate it much more than before. I thought I had it difficult in life, but seeing people here in this country who persevere day in and night with such tenacity, changed my entire perspective of my situation back home. This trip made me realize how one can find happiness and joy in life with little. My perspective and views I had about poverty changed and it made me more eager to want to tackle it.

This trip completely changed my goals and what I want to do in the future for a career. It reinforced the passion I have for helping others and I want to choose a career that consists of that. Thus when I get back home, I am going to start investigating different kinds of nonprofits that focus on helping people who don’t have the resources and help to get out of poverty.

Leaving Paraguay was not the end of my journey there. Rather new doors and a new journey for me has just begun. I hope to go back one day and see the progress we have made since we left. Traveling for the first time to another country and learning about different cultures, languages, music, history, and etc sparked a new interest in me of wanting to travel more, especially in Latin America. I grew a lot as a person by learning from other people and I hope to continue to grow even more by traveling more in the future. This trip also made me realize that I am more capable and able than I thought I was when it comes to helping people and changing people’s lives in a positive way.