Hopkins in Guatemala
On August 5, a group of ten students and two chaperones traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where they spent ten days volunteering at a local elementary school and gaining insight into Guatemalan culture.
At the school, Hopkins students painted classrooms and murals and taught the local students English. Ava Pfannenbecker ’21 recalled her time spent with local children, “I loved playing with the kids at recess. Even though I was continuously pelted with plastic soccer balls, recess was never ending fun filled with laughter and new friendships.” Reflecting on “how much privilege we have here in the United States,” JJ Drummond ’22 stated, “All the kids I talked to and played with were the happiest little kids I’ve ever seen. They don’t need materialistic things to make them happy.”
Hopkins students also had the opportunity to visit museums, watch demonstrations, and even test their dancing skills at a Salsa class. Jason Chung ’21 commented,“My favorite activities were zip lining across the forest valley and driving up a huge mountain to get to hot springs because it allowed us to see and appreciate the entirety of Guatemala.” Pfannenbecker further reflected: “most nights we got to come together as a group to discuss our experiences from the day, which always revealed new questions and ideas.”
Ben Levine ’19 recounted a memorable excursion: “We also took a hike during a rainstorm up to Lake Chicabal. We had a really sketchy ride in a pickup truck that made fake bull noises and the lake was just beautiful once we finally reached it.” Experiencing Guatemalan culture and visiting local landmarks provided each student with unique perspectives and memories. Drummond recalled, “I got to try a lot of new things and get out of my comfort zone. I also got to meet a lot of new people from Hopkins whom I probably wouldn’t have met.”