Inside the mind of an alternative spring breaker

Sarah Harris

Name: Charlie Doe
Year: Sophomore
Major: English
Destination: Leon, Nicaragua

Who did you go with? 
Did you meet any interesting people?
The Albert Schweitzer Institute sent 28 students from all grades including five leaders and some faculty. I met incredible people both from Quinnipiac, my host family, the workers at Alianza Americana which was a sponsoring organization, and just throughout the country.

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Freshman Charlie Doe spent his spring break on a service trip to Nicaragua.

Is this your first time going on an alternate spring break trip?
Yes. I wanted to apply to utilize my time to help others while discovering a greater significance for myself in the world.

What was your favorite part about the trip?
My favorite part is hard to say. We had so many eye-opening cultural experiences where you really saw how humbly some people live. We visited one woman who lived in a tiny hut with only one room. She was crying when we visited her. At the same time, we got to go sightseeing and spent time hiking a volcano and going to a beach. But without a doubt my favorite part was working alongside locals in the school to better their community.

What did you do when you were there?
While we were there we worked in three job sites: a school in La Ceiba, a zoo in Leon, and a biology site. We dug out and laid the foundation for a school while working to build a classroom, we painted and cleaned up the zoo, setting up fences and digging irrigation routes, and in the bio department some students worked with mangrove trees while others cleaned out tanks for shrimp and tilapia cultivation.

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Charlie Doe and his roommate, Alex Soucy, with their host family in Nicaragua at the farewell ceremony.

What did you get out of the trip?
All the leaders warned us not to get frustrated with our friends when we got back who can’t appreciate how rewarding this type of service experience is. I appreciate everything I have so much more because I have seen the struggles of life without it. More than materialistic objects, though, I see the value of compassion and family. The Nicaraguan people are so open and welcoming that it was emotionally devastating to leave. They value family and relationships so much that it inspires me to be the best friend, son, and brother I can be.

What did you learn about yourself on the trip?
I knew before this trip that I could make a difference in the world, but it wasn’t until I went to [Nicaragua] that I learned how much self-satisfaction I get from giving back. I was a different person in Nicaragua, I became so relaxed and open about every facet of my life that it was nearly stress-free even after working so hard and adjusting to a new culture in just a week.