A group of 14 Conestoga students will depart for Antigua, Guatemala on February 13, 2016 to volunteer their time on a number of construction projects. Their week-long trip has been organized by Conestoga Students Incorporated (CSI), the college’s student association.
The journey will mark the third annual Global Service Leadership trip that CSI has implemented on campus. In previous years Conestoga students have travelled to Costa Rica to work with local orphanages. The students brought their mix of skills to the communities they served and returned home with the lessons they learned as volunteers. Students attend these leadership trips on a volunteer basis and pay for their own expenses.
Second-year Police Foundations student Erica Newbigging took part in the 2015 trip to Costa Rica and has signed on to go to Guatemala. “I went last year because my program required me to do 40 hours of volunteer service and I thought the trip would be a unique way to earn those hours. I’m not required to do the same this year, but I really wanted to go. I like helping out and feel a personal sense of duty to give back to others whenever I can.”
Newbigging will travel with students from a range of Conestoga programs and will depart at the beginning of the Winter break. “It’s a hard time to go because we’re in the middle of exams,” said Newbigging. She plans to take her books and study on the flights to and from Antigua and said that despite the time crunch with school work, she would still rather help out than stay home.
“There is culture shock when you arrive, but there’s also shock when you return. When you get back you become really thankful for the rights we have and the roofs over our heads. It’s good to see these differences between cultures and to help out where you can.”
Each student participating is required to pay $2,200, which can be a burden on top of tuition. To help offset their expenses, the students are planning a series of fundraisers on and off campus over the coming weeks. The group has also established a Fund my Travel account which allows the public to make an online donation to the team of students.
For more information about Conestoga’s Global Service Leadership program, contact Lisa Steele, CSI leadership development coordinator.