Finance, Class of 2018
Through my high school in Hong Kong, I spent a week in a different country each year serving local community members, frequently teaching English to underserved communities. When I started at Santa Clara and learned about the Global Fellows Program, I was immediately drawn to it. The program provided an opportunity to spend a longer period of time helping a community in another country, and offered a chance to make a more meaningful impact.
I was particularly interested in working with the artisan company AHABolivia in Cochabamba, Bolivia, focusing on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, ethical business practices, and teaching mathematics.
My assignment with Bolivia4WARD was perfect. It is a tutoring program that was originally created for the children of the many artisans/employees at AHABolivia. However, word spread, and this tutoring program has now expanded to work with different schools and orphanages across Cochabamba.
For two weeks during the students’ Winter Break, we conducted class every day in the morning and afternoon. Students came to class to have individualized math lessons through Khan Academy in order to avoid the traditional classroom setting where they had been left behind.
Having taught several subjects in different countries in the past, I thought I would be ready for Bolivia4WARD. I quickly realized I had to throw away what I thought I knew about teaching and adapt to the needs of each student. I saw this as an opportunity for mutual learning. I was helping students with their math, while they were teaching me different words in Spanish.
It was so exciting to see the students understand and grasp new concepts. Overall, Bolivia4WARD was an extremely rewarding experience, especially when we can see the students actively engaged and enjoying their learning. After a few weeks of working with one of the younger girls from the orphanage, we heard her say, “I don’t want to leave; I want to be adopted here.”
My rewarding experience with Bolivia4WARD taught me to adapt on my feet, and also made me realize that I want to do something in my career that has a social benefit objective.
Back here at Santa Clara, I have the honor of serving as president of the Rugby Club, which also receives support through the Santa Clara Fund. Thank you so much! It’s inspiring to have alumni and parents who are so generous to these programs, which allow me to define my experience here.