My name is Carly Campbell and I live in Lititz, Pennsylvania. I am a rising junior at Elizabethtown College, studying Occupational Therapy. I first volunteered with Outreach360 for a week in Nicaragua with my Spanish class over Thanksgiving break in 2017, and I have been yearning for a time to serve again ever since. Believe me when I tell you, it truly changed my life and the course of my life…undoubtedly for the better. I now have a better idea of what matters to me most in my life, and what I want to spend my life doing. I have discovered new passions and values that I never knew were so close to my heart.
I heard about Outreach360’s Remote Internship Program through an email from CEO Tom Eklund, about two days before the deadline for the first session! The deadline was not an issue for me, as I knew right away this was something I would be interested in taking part in, as I had talked to Tom Eklund only 3 months before about doing an internship in-country this summer. I definitely had my hesitations at first about taking on an internship teaching and volunteering remotely, but I remembered my first time volunteering with Outreach360 and the impact it had on the students, as well as myself. In the midst of a pandemic, I knew this was the perfect time for me to volunteer again, and even if it was not in-country, it was still going to impact the students in Jinotega tremendously; something I had been waiting to do again for the past two and a half years.
Throughout the four weeks, I could see the students’ growth not only with their English skills but also with their confidence speaking with Native speakers, an important experience they do not get as much as they should. I knew my time every day was helping to provide more opportunities for each student I was with, even if I could not see it immediately in those short four weeks. Each Outreach360 volunteer over time leaves a little impact on each student that then builds into a larger impact altogether. I think that is amazing to think about, especially in a time with so much uncertainty in the world. We, as Outreach360 volunteers, know our time spent with the students is helping to provide them with more opportunities in their own lives, and that the students will really seize these opportunities when they come their way.
From my short amount of time working with Outreach360’s students virtually, I have gained a great amount of confidence in my own ability to empower and inspire others. I have learned how to approach certain situations and how to work through challenges to best reach each student individually. I was able to expand my creative thinking skills through lesson planning and on-the-spot changes during class, two skills I have always struggled with. I look back on the experience and how we all had the common goal to better the lives of the students poco a poco, but the same should be true for me and everyone in the world – We had emphasized that they can do anything they set their mind to with a little bit of hard work, and I tend to forget that for myself. This internship brought those thoughts back up to the surface for me, which is important for me to remember at this stage in my life.
Outreach360’s learning components of the internship were just as impactful as the time I spent teaching. I am a Spanish minor, and the Spanish conversation classes helped with my confidence in speaking with native Spanish speakers, just as much as the students benefitted speaking with native English speakers. The Leadership and Social Change portion opened my eyes to what is going on in the world, as well as how I and others can and do impact it. This was a very prevalent and relatable class at this time in history that I can relate to my life as time goes on. I feel I am more of a leader and a global citizen overall, compared to when the internship started, which was not something I expected to gain in a short four-week internship online. I also gained more cultural awareness and appreciation for the country of Nicaragua through the cultural experiences, which I implemented into my lessons, but also implemented into my life as an avid traveler and explorer.
With the Virtual Impact Program being freshly launched, I would say to seize the opportunity, and be thankful you have this opportunity to serve. I have been blessed with a great education, and I am grateful I can use it to help these students have a better education themselves, something I have taken for granted throughout my life. You will be able to see firsthand the excitement and joy that these students have when learning and begin to imagine the opportunities and possibilities the students will have throughout their lifetimes, thanks to you and countless other volunteers. Personally, I would wake up two hours earlier or miss out on watching two hours of Netflix on a Saturday to serve with Outreach360 again, an organization with a common goal to provide more opportunities for students who truly deserve and want them, and I would hope you would want to do the same. You never fully understand the impact you can have on a student, or a person, until the moment is over, and serving with Outreach360 definitely embodies that. I will always remember and appreciate my times with Outreach360 and pray that I will be able to seize another opportunity to serve again soon.
This Fall, Outreach360 is offering a unique two-way language learning internship. With just a two-hour commitment each Saturday for twelve weeks, you will provide our students with the valuable opportunity of speaking with native and like-native English speakers, and in turn, you will have the opportunity to practice and grow your Spanish skills. Learn more here.