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Student travels to Panama over the summer

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Student travels to Panama over the summer

Citizens put up the fence to help students cross the bridge safely on the way to school.

Citizens put up the fence to help students cross the bridge safely on the way to school.

Citizens put up the fence to help students cross the bridge safely on the way to school.

Citizens put up the fence to help students cross the bridge safely on the way to school.

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Senior Emma Ziegler helped volunteered in small Panama cities through the AMIGOS organization this summer.

Ziegler participated in this program for six weeks from June 20 to August 10, staying in a small community outside Penonome and helping out the citizens living there.

“In Panama, we had a project in our community to help the people get a better environment. We also immersed ourselves in their culture by living with host families and speaking almost solely in Spanish,” Ziegler said.

Their projects included creation of a fence along a bridge that kids had to cross to get to school to make it a safer travel, filling a road with concrete to help it become more stable, and purchasing of trash cans along bus stops to stop littering. They also did extracurricular activities on weekdays with the kids.

“During campamentos [extracurricular activities] the connections I made… were just amazing and I will never forget any of it,” Ziegler said.

The trip was not only helpful to the Panamanians, but it was also an incredible experience for the American participants.

“I really loved speaking Spanish and getting to know the people there. Overall, the cultural exchange was amazing. Being able to see and integrate into another culture was life changing. I made so many friends that I am still in contact with. Honestly, I feel so lucky for all the people I met and the entire experience,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler got involved in the organization through the national AMIGOS charter and anyone across the country can join if they are interested in other cultures. The organization has many options and countries that anyone can find interest in.

“I would recommend anyone interested in Spanish and other cultures look into doing AMIGOS! It was a amazing experience that I would like to possibly do it again,” Ziegler said.

 

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