Cabrini students take on Guatemala

By Ryan McLaughlin
February 26, 2014

Traveling to a country riddled with a horrid past of genocide and economic injustice is the destination myself and a handful of other students and teachers will be heading to this spring break.

If someone asked me earlier on this year what I was planning on doing with my spring break, I’d probably laugh and get whisked away in memories of my previous years.

This would normally be me packing up my Xbox, a pile of clothes, saying goodbye to all my friends and heading home to a week of sleeping in late and recuperating from the seemingly never-ending stress a college education brings.

This year, however, things are going to be a little different. I’m traveling to another country.

Thinking back to my first week of college as a freshman, I remember waking up a few times and being confused and worried as to where I was. Surely waking up everyday for a week in a different country will have similar effects.

During the course of my life, all things worthy of mentioning in a conversation with people I’d like to impress or intrigue began with a story of me stepping outside of my comfort zone. This is why when Nicholas Cipollone, a junior communication major and marketing minor, pitched to me the idea of taking ECG-300 (Guatemala) taught by Dr. Zurek and Dr. Raquel A. Green, I agreed.

Without talking about the course itself too much and focusing more on my anticipation, goals and expected outcomes, this class shed an incredible amount of light on issues of social justice and human rights. I would recommend to everyone I know, if they have the opportunity, to take this course.

On this trip I really look forward to waking up early every morning and seeing the sunrise in a different part of the world.

Coming from a family with a huge background in construction and having worked construction myself I look forward to doing anything I can with the skills I have developed, to help. I also really look forward to be immersed in Mayan culture.

For a week I will have no cell-phone. The average person might dread this reality but the people attending this trip alongside of me aren’t the type of people you label “average.” They have all paid money out their own pockets to travel to a different country to help, learn and grow as individuals. This speaks volumes about the tremendous people I’ve been fortunate enough to learn with and from.

I’ve always had this deep desire to see the world. Boarding this plane on Saturday will symbolize more than just a means of travel. It will mark the beginning of my work with social justice issues. It will also define my first time leaving the U.S.

I’ve also been brushing up on my Spanish quite a bit and am interested to see how well I am able to communicate with the local population. This is definitely going to be a trip I will never forget.

Not many people get the chance to experience what I will this coming week and for that I am grateful.

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Ryan McLaughlin

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