Student makes a connection beyond the words

Fatima in Ceylan, Guatemala.This guest post is brought to you by Fatima Castro, a recent graduate of  Winthrop University and one of seven students who traveled with Kelly Campbell of the Village Experience and me to Guatemala. It was awesome to see Fatima translate for our group.  She was totally in her element. I could see her living in the mountains of Guatemala connecting languages and cultures.  I pretty much appointed myself as her career coach.  Her parents should be worried.  

What a great honor it is to share a little of my experience in Guatemala with Kelsey, Kelly, Jennifer and my classmates! The trip made for the best graduation gift ever.

This was the first time that I was able to go to the beautiful country of Guatemala, and, to say the least, it was an incredible experience. It was truly a life-changing trip that wrapped up my time at Winthrop University in a magnificent way.

As a Spanish major, some of the most important classes we have to take include history, literature as well as the various language classes. On this trip I had the pleasure of being able to serve as a translator during some of the meetings we had. Through Spanish, I was able to connect with the amazing people that we met in Guatemala. It was incredible to make an immediate bond with the people we met t just by being able to speak their language.
Talking to the women in the markets, some of the students in the rural village of Ceylan, and our tour guide, Jairo, gave me the opportunity to see the story behind the people. Each one of them had a story to tell that I did the best I could to share with my classmates as I translated. It was such a good feeling being able to talk with them in their language as I saw them feel much more comfortable after they heard me speak in Spanish.

One of the best moments was being able to translate at the women’s cooperative in San Juan la Laguna, as the young woman showed us how they make their own thread with natural dyes. It was fun and so informative as well as eye opening to see how what they do is so important to them and helps create their way of life.

This trip in general was life changing. As I step out into the “real world” and begin to choose a life path, I will take this trip with me very close to my heart.

(Note from Kelsey: I’m filing this in my swelling file titled – Reasons I regret not learning to speak Spanish in school.)


Ariel Azoff says:

What a lovely story!
And Kelsey, I had a file like that for many years. I finally made it happen during a few months in Nicaragua this past winter, and am so glad I did. Knowing Spanish really makes traveling in Central America an enriching experience, full of moments like the ones Fatima related. So anyway, it’s not too late!

Nanette says:

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