MSU essay choice #2: Describe a significant experience from the past two years which required you to interact with someone outside of your own social or cultural group (ethnic, religious, geographic, socioeconomic, etc. ). How did this impact you? What did you learn and what surprised you? During my junior year of high school, I went on a mission trip/volleyball expedition with my club team. We traveled down to Nicaragua because this was a new experience for everyone involved. When we first got off the plane it was a completely different atmosphere than what any of us were used to.
As soon as you leave baggage claim, you are greeted by a large sea of people. The only thing keeping the two of you apart is a tiny glass door which leads to the streets you exit from. After we left the airport and checked into our hotels we were on the road to do our first part of community service. We met in this large dusty field with make shift bases and a small pitcher’s mound. We later found out that it was home to a youth girl’s kickball league. The girls were from the ages of eight through sixteen.
You could tell that they didn’t have much and kickball was there whole life, but they always had a smile on their face and made the best of everything. When we were playing with the girls, we got to talk with them a little bit but there were some barriers because they couldn’t speak English, and we didn’t know much Spanish. Despite that, we were able to laugh and joke with the girls. Seeing the way they smiled and how they were able to make the best or most out of everything showed me that you don’t always need the material things in life that you can be alright and still find happiness.
On our next mission trip, we were split into groups to do different assignments. My group was assigned to an elementary school out in the countryside to work with preschoolers. The drive out was very far from town and the smell of animal waste and disease burned your nose. When you finally arrived to the school, it was the size of a traditional school house from early pioneer days. When we walked inside, we learned that it wasn’t only a school for preschoolers, but it was also class rooms full of kids from first to sixth grade. Each classroom was divided by age to try and keep kids learning as much as possible.
When we took the children out to play, they looked surprised yet fortunate. I had never seen such a bright smile on a person’s face till I got to play with those kids. When the play time was over and we went to donate the school supplies we brought down for them, they gave us big hugs and much gratitude. At first I didn’t realize why someone would be thanking me for an eraser and five pencils, but then I later realized that theses were all of the school supplies that child would have for the rest of the year or even the rest of their school career. When it came time to leave, not only were we sad, but so were the kids.
Later on through the day, we found out that since that school was so far from the main town we were staying in, they never had any visitors and they hardly ever get donations. The school only went up to grade six because by that age, kids could either continue to go to high school, or start working. Hearing all of that made me realize just how blessed I am to live in the country and have the opportunities that I do. Those children may have no say in whether or not they can finish up schooling and go to college to live successful lives. Not every person in life has the choice to better themselves or to change their social status in life.