In the summer of 2016, I went on an adventure to Guatemala and explored the country through traveling and volunteering. Being in a country without knowing the local language increased uncertainties, but more importantly, added excitement to my journey. During my trip, I’ve kept meeting kind people that helped me finish my adventures. I visited the volcanoes in Antigua, the most beautiful Lake Atitlán, I saw the amazing sunrise at Indian Nose, I wandered the Maya Chichicastenango market and enjoyed other fabulous scenery all the while interacting with local people.
After touring the south part of Guatemala as a backpacker, I went across the country to get to the northern area of Petén, where my volunteer project was to be located. I thought that my volunteer experience would go well like the beginning part of my trip, but it turned out that the volunteer project I was involved in was very different from how it was described on the website. Adapting to the situation, I moved to live with a local Maya family, learned to make avocado oil and recognize plants for medicinal purposes, cooked with Maya people, helped in a local school and experienced the Maya people’s daily life.
Putting the liberal arts in practice, I explored the Maya history and culture from the local people’s perspective, I cultivated basic living skills in a rural village, I learned to adapt myself to unexpected challenges, and I transferred my knowledge learned in class to looking into the economic status of Guatemala. For me, Guatemala still needs to be explored further and I am considering ways to develop my understanding and appreciation of this rich culture.