Exciting news––I’m headed back to Panama this summer!
This year, I’ve been interning with Ironwood Tree Experience (ITE), a local non-profit that focuses on environmental education and leadership for youth. As their International Programs Intern, I’ve been helping plan our excursion to Costa Rica, coordinating fundraising opportunities, building the team, etc. I actually will be traveling with them after a year of planning, which is super exciting, since I also went with them four years ago on the first trip of this kind.
Global Experience: Costa Rica runs for 12 days, in which we’ll be traveling around the country visiting national parks, doing community service, practicing Spanish, interacting with locals, and having tons of fun. After these 12 days are up, I’ll be splitting from the group and heading back to Panama after a few stops in Costa Rica.
In Panama, I’ll be trying to accomplish a couple of really important goals:
- Eradicate the stereotype of the American who comes once and never returns, simply by returning two years later and interacting once again with my host community.
- Do community service targeted to give back in the most meaningful way I can think of. (This is still a work in progress––I’m thinking of maybe running an English workshop, since that’s something I was asked about a lot while I was living there, or teaching a few classes about youth culture around the world. Not sure. Ideas?)
- Gather practical research to complete the research project I’m beginning in January at the University of Arizona with the help of a faculty mentor. This will examine the social, cultural, and economic impact of short and long term tourism, ecotourism, exchange, and development programs on Panama and Costa Rica.
- See my host family and friends again, and have fun! :D
I’m also working with a representative from Pan Left, a liberal filmmaking organization I worked with a few years ago to make “Who is Your She-ro?” (Article here.) We’re tossing ideas around about filming my travels and finding youth communities to connect back to our own… more info to be announced!
And so obviously, this takes some money. I’ve begun a GoFundMe, which you can find here: http://www.gofundme.com/phoebem. The program fee for 12 all-inclusive days of adventure+tour guide+insurance+plane ticket+food&lodging+etc in Costa Rica is $2,900. Then, I estimate my cost of travel, lodging, food, etc. traveling through Panama will be at least $600. My goal right now is $3,500. If you would like to donate to my cause, I would forever appreciate it! All it takes is a little––if every one of my Facebook friends donated $7, I’d be completely set.
As always, thanks for reading! More updates coming soon.