1. What is your internship and why did you choose it?
One thing I did this summer was a fundraiser for WaterAid that involved me traveling to Nepal to climb a little past Everest Base Camp, about 2/3 up Everest. It was an amazing experience and the hikes each day were more beautiful than the last. I chose to participate in this because I’ve done work with WaterAid before and I believe their mission is one of utmost importance as well as it has always been a dream of mine to climb Everest and this allowed me to go some of the way up. I really hope to participate in more such fundraisers in the future and am planning on doing one for Kilimanjaro next summer!
2. Tell us about a friendship you’ve formed in APO.
One special friendship I’ve formed in APO has been with one of my littles, Pranesh. Even though we are both busy, we still find time to talk and hang out when we can and I love each and every one of our interactions. He’s been a really great for a pick me up when I’m down or just a nice deep heart to heart talk when we’re both in the mood. From our time spent together both in and out of APO, I feel like we’ve gotten pretty close and we can reach out to each other if we ever need help or advice with anything. He’s been a really amazing friend and I’m lucky to have been matched with him through APO. 🙂
3. What is your favorite service project at Cornell? Why?
My favorite service project at Cornell has been helping at Welcome Weekend with setting up events and running the different booths such as stress-ball making and bamboo planting. Its a great mix of helping run an event as well as being social with the participants and other volunteers. I also think its a really great event to start off the semester and bring people of all different backgrounds and areas of Cornell together. Its a really great way to catch up after a long break and do some service to the Cornell campus, which I think is awesome. 🙂
4. What is something you’ve learned from service?
I’ve learned many things from performing service in APO. Firstly, I’ve learned that service can be done in many different ways, and each may be meaningful to different people and in various ways. Additionally, sometimes the most meaningful service is the one that has no immediate benefits visible impact. A lot of times even a small act of service done quietly benefits more people in a greater way than a large organized event. The last thing I have learned is that nothing quite brings people together as meaningful service does. Even if it is working towards separate goals, as long as the people performing service believe their actions are having a lasting impact in a beneficial way, they are united under a common goal of improvement and share a bond that is indescribable in words and can only be felt within the moment.
5. Have you been volunteering this summer? If so, where and how has it been?
I have been volunteering as well this summer! I volunteered in Cusco, Peru for two weeks at veterinary clinics around the city and surrounding areas. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about what being a vet entails as well as what Peruvian culture is like. I really enjoyed getting to know the other students on the trip both from Cornell and the University of Kentucky and I think the friendships I formed on the trip are the most special takeaway from it.
6. How is it different from volunteering around Ithaca?
It was a very different dynamic than volunteering in Ithaca both because of the work we were doing as well as the culture we were immersed in. People would bring their pets (dogs and cats usually) for us to groom and give medicines to. Everyone did their own part at different stations in the clinics and you were able to clearly see the rewarding results in how the dog looked and how grateful the owner were after. In Ithaca, not all projects yield an instant result that you can see, sometimes the service is doing behind-the-scenes work that is essential to making the event success but is not always the most visible. Additionally, the dynamic of working within Spanish culture and language made it a bit more difficult to adjust to than volunteering in Ithaca, in an environment I am a lot more used to.
7. What is your favorite part of it?
My favorite part of volunteering at the vet clinics was interacting with animals for hours each day and getting to help them in any way we could whether it was from cleaning wounds to cutting nails to picking fleas off them. Some of the transformations of the animals before and after were quite remarkable and having never worked with animals before, it was an amazing opportunity for me (plus I just really love dogs). I additionally loved learning from the other students on the trip, most of whom are pre-vet. They were really helpful during clinics and made my entire experience in Peru really memorable!
8. How did you find the opportunity?
I heard about it through a couple of members of Alpha Zeta who were also participating in the trip. The trip was run through an organization called VAW (Volunteers Around the World) and I found out more through the Cornell chapter of it prior to going on the trip. In total, about 15 students from Cornell went to Peru this summer on this trip and it was a great experience hanging out with them and getting to know them better!