Virpal Kaur majored in General Biology (’13). She loves traveling abroad and volunteering in different communities to learn more about different cultures. For her field experience, Virpal traveled to Tanzania, Africa for a month with an organization called “One Heart Source”. One Heart Source promotes well-being, growth and development of abandoned and orphaned children in underdeveloped countries through high quality care and education programs. It also uses education to promote academic enrichment, life skills, and character development of the children to build effective lives and become potential community leaders, continuing the cycle of positive social change.
Here’s Virpal sharing her experience:
“I lived with a host family in a village named Musa in Tanzania. I worked with American volunteers and Tanzanian volunteers. I got the chance to teach the community about health related topics. I also worked with children at the local school. I got to tutor them in Subjects like English and History. I also helped in beautification of the school. For example, we build benches and placed them all around the school to provide students with a place where they can actually sit and socialize during breaks. Most importantly, I learned about their cultural by eating every meal with the family I was assigned.
The main challenge was the language barrier. Due to finals one week before the trip, I was not able to learn as much Swahili as I should have. So, it was really hard to talk to the family members in the beginning. However, as the days passed, I was able to learn a lot and was able to have simple conversations with my family members. I brought back tons of memories. I made so many new friends and I still have daily contact with them. However, one of the most important thing that I brought back was what I learned. I learned to appreciate what we have, a lot more. This trip changed the way I looked at so many things and I think it is something that will be with me for the rest of my life.
During the free time, we would usually go to the Duka (small store) to buy some soda and snacks. We would play soccer with the kids in the village, cook with our families or just for walks around the village.
I try and work with kids a lot more now because that was one thing I loved the most about this trip. So, I try and go to the orphanage trips or just tutor kids near my community.”