STUDY ABROAD | ALICANTE, SPAIN
Through our service learning course in Spain, I had the opportunity to volunteer with ANDA (Asociación de niños/as jóvenes y adultos con discapacidad de Alicante). I worked with a group of adults with disabilities in Alicante; I met with this group once a week on their physical activity day. Within a few minutes of arriving on my first day, I soon began receiving hugs and fist bumps from all my new ANDA friends – relationships that continued to develop throughout my time in Spain and truly made this experience so rewarding.
On a typical day, we would participate in an outdoor activity for a while, then head inside for indoor swimming. The outdoor activity varied between dancing, soccer, and basketball. My ANDA friends loved leading the dance routines and watching me attempt to follow along. Many would pull me aside and kindly show me how to correctly dance (haha). During the pool time, I would help lead stretches, pool laps, and actually help carry a few of them through the water who were unable to swim on their own. Although exhausting at times, I really enjoyed this part of the experience and our interactions together; for most of the ANDA friends, swimming was their favorite part of the week.
Overall, this was an awesome and humbling experience. I would recommend volunteering abroad to every student who has the opportunity. Not only is it a great way to practice language skills and develop new relationships abroad, but more importantly it pushes you outside of your comfort zone while helping making an impact on individuals in their own community.
Tanner Duffy ’20