By Hailey Hibbard ’15
This summer, I was given the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia as a member of the Nuovo Fiore Global Service group. When I was in Ethiopia, I was able to see the desolation in which many Ethiopians live. Many do not have an education and have a hard time trying to find a way to provide for themselves and their families.
One day, we had the opportunity to visit some of the students’ homes. There was a young preschooler who came with us whose story particularly touched me. Around a year or so ago, her father abandoned her, her mother, and her newborn baby brother. Not too long afterwards, her mother lost her job and then they were kicked out of their home. This little girl had to live on the street with her mother and baby brother, not knowing what to do because her mother couldn’t find a job to provide for her family. Although her mother has now found a small job, and they have a small hut to live in, they still are facing a lot of difficulties. This little girl still has hope, though, because she knows, if she continues to get an education that she will one day be able to make a life for herself, be able to have a home, and provide for her family.
While in Ethiopia, we were able to teach pre-school to 4th grade at an elementary school. We were given the amazing opportunity to inspire these children to receive an education and to make better lives for themselves. It was amazing to see their big smiles as they practiced their English, learned new songs, and played new games. Hopefully our visit there has strengthened their desire to learn and be able to live a secure, stable life.
During the trip, I was able to see our two worlds merge together to make a better one, one where I live each day to the fullest. I saw myself become a happier and better person: someone who is grateful for the things that I have, who is more positive, and who will work hard to help those around me and those who are farther away. I have truly become a better person.
The Global Service Program trips which TASIS provides will not only change the lives of those you serve, but will also change your life. You will be inspired to become the best person you can be; someone who serves, loves, and never stops learning. My experience in Ethiopia has truly changed my life, and I hope that I can return soon.
Pavel Artemov '15 served as the trip photographer. Many of his images can be viewed in the gallery below.
TASIS Global Service Program
The Global Service Program was envisioned by Jan Opsahl ’68, who became the first international student at TASIS when he came from Norway in 1965. The pioneering program was launched in 2013 with major support from a most generous donation from Mr. Opsahl and his family to set up the Global Service Trust. This Trust, along with support from the TASIS Foundation, make this incredible, life-changing experience for our students possible.
The Global Service Program transforms lives by providing every High School student a unique opportunity to connect across borders through comprehensive experiences that build empathy and encourage personal responsibility. Participation in the program—which is designed to awaken students to humanitarian needs, inspire them to build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships, and lead them toward a life of active citizenship and committed service—is a graduation requirement.