Hello! ¡Hola! My name is Luke Hughes and I am from Lake Forest, IL. I am currently a sophomore at Loyola Academy, in Wilmette, IL, and my favorite subjects in school are social students and Spanish. My experience with Outreach360 began back in March of 2019 when I embarked on a week-long trip to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. The group I traveled with was amazing, and I was able to build strong friendships with people I had never met before.
My service experience in the Dominican Republic was beyond words, so I decided to register for Outreach360's Virtual Impact Program internship in the fall of 2020. I am so grateful for all the lessons I learned and the impact I made. Because I loved this internship so very much, I registered for Outreach360's Virtual Impact Program internship in the winter/spring of 2021.
I would like to give a shoutout to my Aunt Kathy, the former Spanish teacher at Elgin Academy, who has visited Outreach360's Nicaragua and Dominican Republic sites many, many times, and the person who invited me to go to the Dominican Republic with her back in March of 2019.
This internship taught me the value of service. It taught me how to be a person for others. The internship taught me that although I may be tutoring through Zoom, I can still make an impact on myself, the students, and everybody at Outreach360. Coming into this internship, I was a little hesitant, to be honest. Although I loved working with Outreach360 back in 2019, I was still nervous about interacting with other students who I had never met and whose native language was different from my own. Tutoring over Zoom, and not in-person, just made me even more nervous. However, everything about this internship was a thousand times better than I ever could have imagined. Looking back at it, I don't know why I was so nervous.
I can easily say that this experience has taught me some of life's greatest lessons. I was able to recognize the importance of service and what it meant to be a person for others. Seeing a smile on my students' faces helped me see the joy in doing something for somebody else and that one can't live life just worrying about themselves. I learned that service can not only make you a less selfish person, but it can also help you learn more about another group of people and their country, culture, and language.
Thanks to this internship, I was able to improve my Spanish and at the same time, I was able to learn about the lives of people living in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. I learned a lot, but I also had fun. Through playing games during my English class, I was able to make my students laugh, which made me laugh, and made my Saturday a thousand times better. In my Spanish class, being able to connect with both my co-teachers and the students about our very different cultures helped me learn so much about the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, from their healthcare systems to their sports, to their national holidays. This internship taught me that when people come together, only great things can happen. I learned that I can put my strong leadership and communication skills, my interest in other cultures, and my passion for helping my community all together and create something great. This amazing, wonderful, and exciting experience taught me that although only teaching Spanish and English to students for two hours each week for 12 weeks may not seem like much, it really can impact not only the students but also myself.
Would I recommend this internship? Absolutely yes, without hesitation. It does not matter if you have never done anything with Outreach360 before, you have no interest in learning about other cultures, or if you are an extremely shy person, you will definitely not regret doing this internship. It's that simple and I could not be more honest. Anybody from anywhere will love this internship simply because of all the friendships, life skills, and fun you will get out of it. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to do this internship, and I can't wait to work with Outreach360 again in 2021.
For more information on Outreach360's virtual internships, please visit www.outreach360.org/virtualimpact.