Like most students, my bank account is pretty drained from the costs of college.
The lack of funds posed an issue when trying to make plans for my spring break. As a senior in college, I wanted to travel for my time off since I’ve never been on an official, typical “spring break.” Last semester, my classmates and I were posed the offer of going to Guyana, South America during our week off in March.
We were given details about the trip far in advance and were told that the trip would entail us dental hygiene students providing free oral healthcare and education to the Guyanese. We would be working 10 to 13 hours each day, sitting on buckets with headlamps on, cleaning people’s mouths.
Dental students from the University of Michigan will be performing extractions and other procedures. While people are waiting in line, they will receive free Bibles, and local pastors will be preaching about God’s love.
The total cost of the trip is definitely out of my budget. In order to go, I needed to raise at least 90 percent of the funds. After sending out support letters, I was shocked by the response. Within about four weeks, the generosity of others had made this trip possible.
This isn’t the typical, care-free spring break lying on a beach that I had always envisioned to have my senior year of college. The last semester of my college career has been stressful; however, over the years I have learned that one of the best ways to manage stress is to take the focus off of myself.
Helping others in turn helps me to realize that my problems aren’t as big as I once thought. While I struggle to pay for higher education, others are struggling to afford to survive.
The cost for the Guyanese to get their teeth cleaned is equal to about a year’s worth of wages. By going on the trip to Guyana, I hope to become more appreciative of life here in the United States. While often times expensive, I hope I come home grateful for the access to care in the U.S.
This spring break is a chance for me to give back and share love on an international level.
I don’t have to be rich in order to affect other people in a positive manner. I hope my atypical spring break has a lasting impact on people’s lives, and on my own.