Testimonies

“In May of 2016, I was a student on the SEA Education trip to Lima, Peru. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to teach abroad through SEA. This trip was a memorable experience that has helped shape me into the type of educator I strive to be. I have learned from fellow Brock students who participated, as well as the teachers, facilitators and students of Horst Kiehn. I am so inspired by the relationship of the students and teachers and it has taught me that genuine love and passion is most important when it comes to teaching. Overall, I was able to apply knowledge from my program into practical classroom experiences, and continuously build upon my knowledge through this experience. I am so excited to return to Lima, Peru in May 2017 as a trip leader, and cannot wait to be apart of this experience with another group of Brock Concurrent Education students!”

— Misha, Education, Peru 2016 & 2017

“In February 2018, I went on my first medical mission trip with SEA Abroad to travel to Lima, Peru and it has changed my life, perspective and outlooks on life and on health care overall. I got to experience a new culture, language, food, greetings, dancing, assisting in delivering medical care to patients; but most importantly I formed meaningful connections and relationships. I got to work with such an incredible partnership organization of Solidaridad en Marcha, Peruvian medical professionals, students and the community members of Peru, as well as such a wonderful group of Brock students and trip leaders.

If I had to use a few words to describe my experiences I would use: partnership, reciprocity, teamwork, acceptance, humbling, love, friendship, challenge, speechless, eye-opening, adventure, surprising, and empower & empowering.

This experience has resonated deeply with me in terms of meaningful relationships, and towards my passion in health and aspiration to put what I learned into my future practice.

Within the same year from June to July 2018 I travelled back to Peru and then to Ecuador on another medical mission with Brock nurses. It was a more grounded experience since I knew what to expect but just as powerful and meaningful as the first mission trip. SEA’s mission trips truly gave me a chance to experience something much larger than myself and my life here by becoming integrated into another culture, customs, and to connect with so many people on that heartfelt level.

My advice to those considering going….seize the opportunity, take a chance, put yourself out there to meet new friends, gain new skills, and to develop a larger perspective. It is 100% worth your time and investment and I am so grateful I had this opportunity. My SEA journey has only just begun and I know I’ll be coming back.”

— Mei, Medical Mission, Peru 2018 & Nursing, Ecuador 2018

“In June of 2018, I had just finished my third year of nursing and had the amazing opportunity of joining SEA on their Nursing Mission trip to Ecuador. It is always difficult for me to summarize my trip into words because all I can simply say is “amazing,” “life-changing,” and “eye-opening.” Being able to see the culture and the way of living in a whole different country was amazing. Being able to triage and give care to almost 1000 patients was life-changing. And through all these eye-opening experiences, I was able to learn so much about myself.

Prior to leaving, everyone was so sure that I was going to change all these peoples lives and make an impact, and even when I returned and attempted to share my stories, everyone was at awe of the changes I have made in their lives; but nobody mentioned how much connecting with the people of Ecuador would change my life and impact how I view life, health, and community.”

Jaimie, Nursing Mission, Ecuador 2018

“I went on the Ecuador Nursing Mission Trip with SEA in June of 2017. I went at the end of my third year and it was the best experience I could’ve asked for. I am beyond grateful to have had this opportunity. Being able to triage, diagnose, and treat over 1000 patients, health teach women about first aid and CPR, and teach the kids about dental hygiene was so rewarding. Seeing the joy on the kids had on their faces when I played with them and seeing the smiles of the women when we helped them and their families was priceless. I was able to take the skills I had learnt in my three years of nursing school and apply it in a different context to be able to make a difference.

A wise man told me on this trip that, even though I may not have changed the world with this trip, but at least by always loving the person in front of me I can make a different in their life. It is safe to say that this trip changed my life and gave it more meaning than it even had before and I would do it over and over again. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity and the experience I had with the people I came with and the people I met in Ecuador who will forever have a place in my heart. I can go on and on forever about the way I feel and this trip, but I will leave it at that!

‘Only when you give yourself … will you truly be able to find yourself’”

— Jessica, Nursing, Ecuador 2017

“I have been on the last two Med Plus SEA Trips: Peru in May 2015 and Ecuador in May 2017. During these missions, we had the chance to experience a little of every task within the heal campaign. The first trip we did a headlice checking stations and a headlice shampooing station, a fluoride dental cleaning station and a dental teaching station. Both trips consisted of a triage station, baseline measurements: height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar measurements with the addition of a pharmacy station and a job shadowing station. It was interesting to see that a lot of the in-class material I have learnt was able to be applied to my volunteer experience, especially Medical Microbiology. This application was seen in our job shadows where we got a little more insight to the types of tropical diseases the patients were exposed to.

This trip gave me real life and practical experience dealing with others in a global setting. It also exposed me to tasks completed in the healthcare setting like taking blood pressure, blood sugar height, weight – giving me a taste to how it is like being on practitioner side of the interaction. It provided me with a unique experience in where I was able to learn a lot from the physicians, nurses and dentists. This improved my cross-cultural interactions, interpersonal and communication skills.

I was definitely able to connect social justice to my career goals. Healthcare is an innate human right. Even though all people should be granted access to it, it is not that simple. This trip has provided me with further insight into the lives of very different people. They have shown me exactly how difficult and unnecessarily exhausting it can be to obtain access to healthcare. I find it can be unfair that the place you live in is a determinant of your education, life expectancy and your health. The people I saw on this trip were affected by the opportunities that were given to them and as a healthcare practitioner, you need to take that into account. Latin America has a very different culture than the Western world and the interactions are very different. It is refreshing to know that people actually smile and acknowledge at the people around them and treat people as if they are human and not bound behind an electronic screen. The biggest piece I took away from this trip is to set aside all the differences and relate to and love the person standing in front of you, no matter what they look like or who they are.”

— Christine, Medical Mission, Peru 2015 & Ecuador 2017

“As an aspiring educator, I wanted to gain more real-life experiences to practice the skills I had acquired through my education. I stumbled across SEA and the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru in May 2017 where a group of fellow teacher candidates and I worked together to teach English to a small population of students. The hands-on experiences, compassion and even some challenges on this trip, has shaped me to become the educator I am today. I have learned so many new strategies and gained more confidence in what I want to do in the classroom. If you are a teacher candidate looking for a new and exciting experience, I highly recommend you travel with SEA to not only better yourself as an educator, but to help better a community of loving and driven students children.”

— Sophia, Education, Peru 2017

“This past spring, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Peru through Solidarity Experiences Aboard. This 2 week cultural exchange program allowed me to learn so much about myself, the culture and people of Peru. We did everything from cooking traditional Peruvian food, taking Spanish lessons, learning traditional dances, exploring different cities and visiting ancient ruins. But my absolute favourite part of this trip was teaching English. Before this program, I wasn’t 100% confident in my ability to teach but just one week of working with the great students and staff of Horst Kiehn reassured me that this is what I’m meant to do. SEA is still looking for students applications and Friday, Nov 3rd is the last day to apply to guarantee a spot. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity!!!!!”

— Sarah Domanico, Education, Peru 2017

My name is Oscar Palacio, and I am a second year Medical Science Student at Brock University. This past May, I️ went to Ecuador on the Medplus Medical mission with SEA. My experiences from this wonderful experience left me speechless as it truly made a positive impact in guiding my future, as well as helping me to grow as a person. This trip also gave me hands on experience by working with patients in doing triage, and collaborating with doctors who dedicated most of their time to teaching and explaining the situation of every patient we treated. The children and families in Ecuador truly made me realize that I️ must appreciate everything by enjoying the smallest and simplest things in life! I️ am very happy I️ was part of this excellent experience, and I️ hope one day I can return and be part of this awesome experience again!”

— Oscar Palacio, Medical Mission, Ecuador 2017

“Being a recent graduate, I felt very eager to begin applying all my knowledge. My marketing background became useful in understanding the Ecuadorian and Latin American culture. Both cultural and service experiences allowed us to share and learn from one another and ultimately to learn more about ourselves. I learned that I am very fortunate to have such a great education from the Goodman School of business and how transferable this knowledge is. Marketing foundations can be applied all around the world, and it is fascinating to be able to experience another culture through conducting business with them. Travelling is a wonderful experience that can bring much more than just sight seeing. Ultimately this experience really taught me what it truly means to be a citizen of this world- to be human. Although we are all here together, not all of us have equal opportunities. It is our duty as humans towards living in a world where social injustice is a thing of the past. To use the knowledge and resources we have to help others achieve great things. I am forever grateful for SEA for providing this experience and to all the wonderful people that were apart of it. ”

— Natalia, Business & Education, Ecuador & Peru 2017

“When my friend told me about her first medical mission with Solidarity Experiences Abroad, I was sold over the idea of being able to travel with a purpose. Reflecting on the past trips I have been a part of, I would have never imagined how much I have learned – more importantly become the person I am today. It is a moving experience to see how the community members of Pamplona Alta are so appreciative of their lives with what little they have – something that we take for granted too often. Being able to work alongside the students, staff, and the community members of Pamplona Alta have taught me to put aside the differences that we as people have in our everyday lives, and work in solidarity. The collaborative work I have done with these community members have opened my views of culture and social justice, and have provided me with many vocational skills that I have applied in my everyday career. Memories like this will be in my heart forever…the people, experiences, and work is a reminder of how thankful I am for the life I live”.

— Rio, Medical, Peru 2015 & 2017

“In my fourth year at Brock University, I went to an information session about the Peru Education trip with a couple of my close friends. After hearing about the Solidarity Experiences Abroad program, I knew that this was something I wanted to be involved with! In 2015, I was a student on the SEA Education trip. Waking up every morning and knowing that I was going to teach made me extremely happy. The volunteer work that is done throughout this program also holds a special place in my heart. Seeing the constant joy and excitement of everyone around you really changes your perspective on what you truly need in order to be happy yourself. After participating as a student on the trip, I was asked to be a trip leader for the 2016 Education trip and there was no way that I could turn it down! Being able to go back to Peru for the second time allowed me to reconnect with students and community members that I had previously had the pleasure of working with. It also allowed me to showcase my leadership and organizational skills on a bigger scale. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone who is interested! I can confidently say that these experiences have affected my life in such a positive way. The people that you collaborate with throughout the journey will have a lasting affect on how you choose to live each day. My outlook on life and my awareness of others continues to blossom and I hope that YOU get to experience this incredible journey for yourself.”

— Jessica Entwistle, Education, 2015 & 2016

“I am a high school teacher in London, Ontario and a proud alumnus of Brock University. I have been involved with Solidarity Experiences Abroad since 2007. My experiences as a participant, trip leader, and now the London representative have been life changing and eye opening. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Peru, Ecuador and Brazil with SEA and have gained lifelong friendships, developed an appreciation for cultural values, and connected social justice with my role as an educator. I strongly believe that my experiences on these trips have positively influenced my approach to life and how I interact with people in my daily work. In fact, these trips have had such a strong impact, that my mother was inspired to travel with me to Peru last summer and was profoundly touched by her experience. I strongly encourage people who are looking to make a difference, wanting a life changing experience, or searching for a way to be the change to take part in the trips organized by Solidarity Experiences Abroad – it will be a decision you will never regret and an experience you will never forget!”

— Rebecca Cartmell, Peru 2012 & 2010

“In May of 2012, I participated in SEA’s education-based trip to Peru. Teaching and interacting with the students of Ramiro Priale and Villa Caritas was a life changing experience for me. It reaffirmed my passion for teaching and allowed me to grow spiritually. I learned to “love the person in front of you.” I feel this is something that can truly be understood by practicing social justice, which this trip allowed me to do. The cultural experiences that we were able to participate in, such as travelling to Machu Picchu and visiting Cusco, allowed myself and my peers to develop a great understanding and appreciation for the rich culture and history of Peru. As a prospective educator, I feel blessed that I will be able to share all that I learned from this experience with my students.”

— Kristina Sielicki, Peru 2012

“Having the opportunity to participate in a SEA trip was a unique experience. The local people we met were friendly and responsive to the trip organizers, which showed how invested SEA is within the communities they serve.”

— Allison Norg, Peru 2012

“I can honestly say that SEA has completely changed my outlook on life. The people that we worked with taught me a valuable lesson on what the important things are in life, they taught me what a community is, and they inspired me to bring these teachings home. These trips are incredible opportunities to learn about yourself, other cultures and what makes everyone equal. By bringing my skills and donations I can assist them in living healthier lives while they teach me how to live a happier life. SEA gives me an opportunity to share what I have in order to promote justice in Canada and abroad.”

— Rob Smith, Medical, Peru 2011

“Going to Peru was life altering for me. I learned not only about the people there but about myself as well. The group I went with was amazing, new friendships were made and the support we provided eachother during those two weeks was unforgetable. You get to see things beyond the shiney touristy surface and really experience life. The locals are the friendliest people I have ever met, and the language barrier seemed minimal because everyone was glad to talk with you and wish you well. My favourite memory was in the school for children who were deaf/mute. These kids were the happiest, most polite children I have ever seen. If you are looking to find any sort of meaning in life, go on one of these trips. You will find more than you bargained for :)”

— Amanda, Peru 2008

“Peru is a beautiful country with amazingly nice and friendly people. No matter where you went you got a smile and a friendly “hola” there is a huge difference that is obvious in class difference but the progress is obvious as well. There is so much which I wanted to give and I wanted to stay longer and help out. I was aware of the poverty before I went but to actually experience it is a total emotional event. Reality does really hit you when you’re there, the smells, sights and sounds. But no matter where you went people treated you like one of their own. It was very refreshing and very different from Canada where people are afraid of each other. The camaraderie is so much more obvious and felt in Peru. I can’t wait to go again.”

— Rafal, Peru 2008