By Yumi Dondo '16
This fall I had the opportunity to go along on a Global Service Learning trip to Bulgaria. The chance to contribute firsthand to a Habitat for Humanity project opened my eyes to different kinds of poverty and showed me that I am able to make a difference.
Our TASIS group helped build a house in a small city named Kostinbrod (near the capital, Sofia). We helped with the construction of the house by plastering all the walls, filling trenches with soil, building pathways to the houses, and helping to build the roof of the house. It was hard work, but at the end of the day, I felt extremely happy knowing that I had devoted my time to better a family’s life.
My most memorable moment in Bulgaria was when we visited the local school in Kostinbrod. The elementary students gave beautiful presentations of their country and performed a traditional Bulgarian dance for us. The kids were excited to meet our group and enjoyed taking photographs with us. Although we were not able to communicate with a common language, connections were definitely made!
This trip has made a huge impact in my life, and I hope to continue helping with this incredible project and hope that others will join me in making a difference!
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.