After volunteering for four weeks at Asociacion Valdeperales, I worked at two different placements in Madrid for the next three weeks. The second volunteer site was called Play, Talk, and Cook. Play and Talk is a summer camp specifically designed to allow kids to have a hands-on summer camp where they are able to learn through fun games and activities. The summer camp is a collaboration of the following organizations: Serve the City and Asociacion Naturbana an association that works with creating different social initiatives that deal mainly with social inclusion of collectives and environment. The goal of Play and Talk is to create a space for children where they are able to learn English through fun activities. With the help of other volunteers, we ran the camp every day, creating different interactive activities for the children to do play. Halfway throughout the camp the kids would go to the kitchen and would make food. Every day they had a certain recipe to make from pasta to hummus and myself and the other volunteers would aid in the cooking process. My last week in Spain I volunteered at Asociacion Culturas Unidas. This program was formed by volunteers who worked with programs such as Children and Families, Social Integration, Development Cooperation and Training. The action area includes attention for families, immigrants with social difficulties, and disadvantaged children. Most of the children are of Bangladesh, Senegalese, and Latin America nationalities. As a volunteer I worked with social workers in the center to plan English tutoring workshops that focus on the basics of the English language. We also aided in games and craft activities. My time in Spain is one I will look back on, I met so many wonderful volunteers during my stay and all the children I met during my stay each were special. I am so happy to have been able to immersive myself in a different culture so six weeks.
I had the chance to volunteer in Madrid, Spain for a span of six weeks, during the duration of my visit I volunteered at three different sites. For four weeks I volunteered at Asociacion Valdeperales, an organization that has been around for twenty-seven years. The main goal of Valdeperales is to create educational and social programs for disadvantaged and immigrant groups in Madrid. During the summertime, Valdeperales has several summer camps for kids ranging from four to fourteen years old. As a volunteer, I had the chance to work inside the facilities as well as outdoors in the park with the kids. The purpose of the summer camp is to teach children English through fun leisure game and activities. Typically, I worked with the younger kids from four to six years old. Each week the children would learn about a new continent. When it came to North America, I had the chance to create a lesson plan in order to teach the children about American norms and customs. Furthermore, International Volunteer HQ gives volunteers the opportunity to provide English support for the children. I did this by preparing and giving an English activity two to times a week for one hour. My experience at Valdeperales was one I will not forget; the children were the best part of the program. They always came in with so much energy and eager to learn. At times I admit sometimes it become difficult to communicate with them, but they were always patient when I did not understand. I definitely became attached to these kids. I am extremely grateful to have met these amazing children with such big hearts.
I cannot begin to express the truly life altering nature of this summer of service experience through words alone. Each and every facet of service I was involved in, the cultural education and exposure, and the relationships built between myself and fellow program participants genuinely resulted in significant personal growth and development. Throughout this experience we served in a variety of capacities ranging from construction work building proper waste disposals for local educational institutes, to cleaning and feeding sea turtles residing in the conservation facility. Having lived on a rural, non-touristy island off of the coast of Bali for over a month, I grew to understand the importance of environmental conservation even more so then I had previously. The island of Nusa Penida is negatively impacted by improper disposal of waste by its indigenous residents. The environmental consequences are evident as a result; trash of all sorts, ranging from plastic bottles to clothing, laces the shoreline of the beach and continues throughout the island. Based on coordinator interactions and anecdotal testimonials I discovered that this issue is a result of a lack of education regarding the environmental degradation that can occur when waste is improperly disposed of, and how it can negatively impact biospheres shared by both humans and wildlife. However, over the course of this service experience visible improvements were made and recognized by coordinators which filled me with joy and excitement. While the problem is quite a way away from being resolved, the efforts of local grassroots organizations is instrumental to the continued improvement of circumstances. This experience was more then I could have ever hoped it would be. So many memories and moments come to mind when reflecting upon this adventure, and I am forever grateful to the SHIP Grant, and Rollins as a whole, for affording me such incredible opportunities.
It is incredibly difficult to offer an anecdotal account of a specific event from such an amazing and stimulating experience due to there being a plethora of unforgettable moments. However, what better way to reflect then to acknowledge a moment that both signified the conclusion of such an incredible service experience while simultaneously embodying our primary reasoning for committing ourselves to said service. It is a tradition at Green Lion Bali that on the last day of service, before volunteers begin their trek home, a turtle is reintroduced into the wild. This is done quite early in the morning due to the fact that there is a semi-significant drive and hike involved in order to reach the best possible destination for release. Sea turtles will always return to the beach that they were born on to lay their own eggs, however, many of the sea turtles housed in the conservation center were transported to the hatching facility upon discovery to ensure maximum survival rates. The turtle release was honestly incredible. Witnessing the hard work and dedication of so many individuals to protect such a majestic creature and improve the conditions in which they live was so incredible. It was the physical representation of all the work I had done over the course of my experience, and was a truly astounding conclusion to my journey. So many factors and moving parts are in play regarding environmental sustainability and the protection of this endangered species, but it is amazing to know that although there is so much difficult work to be done, we as individuals can make a difference by devoting our efforts and partnering with organizations who are facilitating continuous progression and developments. I would like to thank the SHIP Grant, and Rollins College as a whole, for affording me the opportunities that I am eternally grateful for.
During my experience at The Southeastern Psychological Association conference in Charleston, I had the opportunity to interact with over 100 undergraduate psychology students and professors from a variety of states who were presenting their research. Not only did I learn a variety of research topics but I also learned about the different kinds of methods and data collection that were used to conduct the research which inspired me to continue to conduct research in graduate school. I had the opportunity to discuss my research with my professors from Rollins, to other undergraduates, and to other psychology professors who came over to learn about my research project. Additionally, there were graduate schools at the conference who I approached to learn more about their psychology programs and we discussed several routes I could take as a graduate student such as social psychology and Industrial-Organizational psychology. While presenting, I received helpful feedback on my research and thus I was given ideas for future research I could do. When I was not presenting, I attended formal research presentations given by professionals in the psychology field and was able to learn more about specific topics that are receiving media attention such as the sensation of Déjà vu. I was able to practice presenting to a variety of people that ranged from undergraduate students to renowned psychology researchers and this experience has allowed me to connect with other psychology students and professors from graduate schools who attended the conference. This conference has contributed greatly to my long-term educational goals of pursuing a career within the psychology field. In addition, my involvement with this conference has prepared me for future research presentations in graduate school.
I appreciated all the constructive feedback that I received from my professors, other graduate students, and from professors from other undergraduate psychology programs. Feedback ranged from additional factors that I could have studied such as having a larger population size, additional independent variable suggestions, and I also received ideas for future research such as individual differences like if subjects in my research were athletes, personality differences, and gender variables. When presenting my data, I was comfortable with the statistical terminology and being able to elaborate on it and educating people about my topic. Also, this opportunity allowed me to exercise my research terminology to interpret other researchers’ data and research questions to be able to give suggestions to them to improve on their research. People would ask how to improve their study and I would give them feedback and how to change methods to better suit their research question, which could include diversifying their population sample. I found myself attracted to research that was neurological in nature and was exposed to different techniques and equipment that are currently used in other undergraduate schools such as fMRI and MRI machines. This knowledge of what other graduate schools offer will help me when searching for graduate schools in addition to acquiring information on the variety of courses that were offered when talking to the graduate students that were present at the conference. I learned of the different opportunities that are available if you continue to do research by attending the award ceremony at the end of the conference where professionals and graduate students were awarded based on best oral presentation, best APA paper, and best mentor.
While on the island of Nusa Penida volunteering with Green Lion Sea Turtle Conservation, I realized that most problems in this world are not a result of the actions of malicious people who do not care about the world’s problems—they are a result of the actions of people who are simply uneducated on the issue. When examining the issue of sea turtle endangerment (specifically around the island of Nusa Penida), there are three main factors that are at fault: sea turtles and their eggs are considered a delicacy among the Indonesian locals, fishermen will many times dispose of their used fishing nets into the ocean which ultimately entrap sea turtles and other sea life, and island locals dispose of their trash in their backyards which back up onto the beach making it unfit for sea turtles to lay their eggs.
After seeing the impact of talking to these locals and fishermen and educating them of the consequences of their actions, I believe that ignorance is the number one cause for the current state of sea turtles, and education is therefore the number one way to solve it.
The sea turtle conservation center at Green Lion first began as a very small group of locals who recognized the issue and wanted to do something about it. They recognized the flaw in their own way of living, and they realized that while doing damage control such as picking up trash off of the beach and rescuing turtle eggs from markets and fishermen, is important, it would be a never ending cycle unless they placed education at the top of their concern. So, Green Lion made it a priority to go to local schools and speak to the children about the consequences of improper waste disposal, and they taught them how to dispose of trash properly so that these children could pass on the knowledge to their parents. Green Lion also waited on the beaches for boats to come in so that they could talk to fishermen about the endangered state of sea turtles and how the catching and selling of turtles and their eggs, and the disposal of their nets into the ocean encouraged the endangerment.
Because Green Lion placed education as their top concern, the children and fishermen were able to assist in the efforts to increase the sea turtle population around Nusa Penida. Many fishermen ended up partnering with Green Lion by bringing injured turtles caught in their nets into the rehabilitation facility, and bringing sea turtle eggs from the beach to the Green Lion hatchery to prevent other poachers from accessing them. The children also play a large role in helping to solve the issue—because they are now educated on why they should practice proper waste disposal, they bring trash from their own homes to the concrete waste bins (built by Green Lion volunteers) at their local schools.
If education was not emphasized at the beginning of Green Lion’s efforts, I do not think that their organization would not have made it nearly as far as they have today. Because Green Lion focuses on proactive methods such as education in addition to their reactive methods such as turtle rehabilitation, they are able to progress farther in their efforts to increase sea turtle population on Nusa Penida.
From June 18 to July 30, 2018, I have been volunteering with a sea turtle conservation company called Green Lion in Nusa Penida, a small island of Indonesia. This company specializes in not only the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles, specifically the Hawksbill Turtle, but also in proactive protection efforts such as beach clean ups and educating the locals on the issue.
Although Nusa Penida is an incredibly beautiful island, its beaches are unfortunately covered in trash. When sea turtles see trash on the beach, it discourages them from laying their eggs on the shore. Once that trash circulates back into the ocean, it poses an even more serious threat to sea turtles: the turtles will mistake items such as plastic bags for jellyfish and attempt to eat them. Part of my role at Green Lion was to assist in morning beach cleanups, make signs that educate the locals on the importance of proper waste disposal and the ways in which they can help out, and help to construct concrete trash and recycling bins in the local schools.
In addition to the waste disposal issue on Nusa Penida causing a threat to sea turtle population, turtles and their eggs are seen as a delicacy by the Indonesian locals and are sold in many of the street markets. Workers at Green Lion will many times purchase these eggs and bring them to their hatchery.
Fishermen partnered with Green Lion will also bring sea turtle eggs they find on the beach to the hatchery in order to prevent poachers from getting their hands on them, as well as injured sea turtles that get caught in their nets. Another one of my roles at Green Lion was to care for these rescued sea turtles. These tasks included cutting fish, catching crab on the beach, feeding and cleaning the turtles, and cleaning the turtle tanks and the surrounding facility.
Green Lion taught me the importance of conserving our earth and the animals that live on it.
Through speaking with the coordinators and hearing their personal efforts to clean up our oceans, I have committed to multiple steps myself such as participating in beach cleanups whenever I can, and committing to using only eco-friendly reusable tableware and everyday items.
At the end of our volunteer experience at the turtle conservation center on Nusa Penida, we were given the opportunity to accompany the staff at the center for a turtle release. We got into the bed of a pickup truck, holding an adult sea turtle wrapped in wet towels, and set off for a secluded beach. When we arrived, we had to make a pilgrimage down the side of a cliff to reach the water. Finally, we set the turtle down on the beach near a flower offering and waited for it to crawl into the ocean. It was an extremely emotional experience.
Conflict exists in the scientific community as to whether “head start” programs like the one in Nusa Penida actually work. Opponents say that the turtles are not fit to survive.
According to them, more work should be done to help the turtles in the wild currently, rather than to supplement their population. However, there is substantial evidence that says these programs work and, if nothing else, raise awareness for the plight of sea turtles. Additionally, the Green Lion turtle conservation program feeds sea turtles a mix of food that includes live crabs, and the sea turtles are very adept at catching these crabs. The sea turtles are only released when the staff at the conservation center observe them and think they will be able to survive in the wild. Also, a lot of our work at the sea turtle conservation center revolved around beach cleanups, with the ultimate goal of making the beach more attractive for turtles to lay eggs. For these reasons, I believe that the hawksbill turtle that we released is currently swimming happily somewhere in the Indian Ocean, catching crabs and jellyfish, waiting to return to Nusa Penida to lay eggs of her own.
I spent a large portion of the past summer on the Indonesian island of Nusa Penida, located southeast of Bali. The primary purpose of my visit was to work at a sea turtle conservation center, but I also visited religious sites sacred to the Balinese Hindu population, participated in Balinese and Bahasa Indonesia language classes, and tried my hand at the local textile-dyeing process known as batik.
The turtle conservation center is operated by Green Lion Bali, a local volunteer coordination program, and the infrastructure dedicated to safely hatching and raising turtles was impressive. Green Lion collects the eggs that the turtles lay on the beach and purchases eggs from local fishermen, as unfortunately the turtles and their eggs are considered a delicacy by the local population. The eggs are then moved to a hatchery, mimicking their original location, and then the staff wait until they hatch. When they hatch, the juvenile turtles are moved to tanks, where they are raised to a certain size and then released. Our job as volunteers was to feed the turtles, scrub their shells of algae, clean the turtle tanks, and catch live crabs to train the turtles how to catch food in the wild.
Additionally, we worked on multiple construction projects in order to improve on the waste management infrastructure on the island.
Unfortunately, there really is not an adequate system in place, so tourists and locals alike end up littering. To remedy this, we worked on building concrete waste receptacles at a local school to educate the children regarding the importance of being mindful of the environment. Overall, the experience was amazing, and it opened my eyes to the importance of environmental conservation in developing countries.
Although the flurry of activities, exams, and last-time visits with friends made it hard to process, the last week of my Study Abroad program in Madrid brought countless emotions. Of course, I was sad and already missing the friends I had made in Spain, the newfound comfortably I had felt with the city’s workings, and the classes I had attended. Yet, mostly, I was sad – and scared – to leave the total and all-encompassing immersion in the Spanish language. I felt sad because I loved the challenge of a constant need for and practice of the language, with everyday interactions transformed into a trial and, as a result, an opportunity for a tiny triumph. I also felt scared because, knowing that I would never be able to completely recreate this type of learning environment in my own country, I feared that I would lose the language skills I had spent the last month honing and developing.
As I returned to the U.S., attempted to recover from jetlag, and unpacked by bags, I also began developing proactive strategies through which I could continue to practice and develop my Spanish, despite the fact I was no longer surrounded by the language. Now, in addition to continuing my language classes at Rollins, I plan on meeting with Spanish-speaking friends once or twice a week to share a dinner and conversation entirely in Spanish. I’ve also found myself becoming engrossed in Spanish music, television programs, and movies, using them as resources and learning opportunities to practice my listening comprehension as well as exposure to cultural nuances. Finally, I hope to put my language skills to use by volunteering at organizations, such as the Hope CommUnity Center or Planned Parenthood, that target their outreach to Latinx and Spanish-speaking populations.
Yet what I fear most is that the end results of all these efforts will be nothing more than a maintenance of my current level of Spanish, preventing me from losing what I have gained while being insufficient to boost me up to the next level. Of course, this is one of the inevitable challenges of returning from studying abroad – an obstacle that I’m looking forward to meeting and overcoming through continual practice.
I have presented my Thesis a few times, and have discussed its topic with multiple people. All were from Rollins College, and most were very familiar with the topic of Marketing and Branding. Given this conference was international, and included multiple topics, not all that were present were familiar with Branding. To see their reaction to the presentation and to see how interested they were was very rewarding. After the presentation was completed, there was a Q&A section. I did not know what to expect in this section, and to my surprise there were multiple people who raised their hands. Before asking their questions, they congratulated the study and expressed their interest in the topic. Compared to the other presentations, this was not a usual response. I was very glad to hear that others, from other fields, found the topic of my Thesis interesting, and wanted to hear more about it, beyond what I had presented. This reaction from the audience really boosted my morale about my Thesis, made me feel proud of what I have accomplished, and gave me more incentive to want to continue working on it.
The last part of my Thesis was to address the gaps in the research. Once these were addressed, Dr. Fetscherin and I saw how there was so much potential to continue expanding on the Thesis After my graduation, we continued to work on these goals, and are continuously working towards publishing these studies. I enjoy the topic of Brand Hate and Brand Forgiveness, and enjoy continuing studying it. Nevertheless, it was great to see that other people enjoy it as well and are fascinated by it. Presenting my Thesis was a great experience, and receiving this reaction from the audience was even a better one.