Apart from Canada, which most don’t consider to be very adventurous when it comes to international travel, I had never been to another country. OSU – Engineers Without Borders chapter has been working on a 5-year project in El Salvador where they have been helping an impoverished community. Working alongside engineering professionals, they built a road and we designed and built composting latrines. These latrines are providing the community with a healthier, better way of life.
Engineers Without Borders gave me the opportunity to provide depth and breadth to my perspective of the world. Sure, it wasn’t long enough to truly engage culturally, but it was enough to recognize the vast differences in lifestyles across the world. Not only did I get to jump off remote jungle water falls in El Salvador, but I got to interact with some of the most generous, hard working, and kind people in the world. Their lives speak of the beauty in simplicity and are forged around genuine relationships. Having the opportunity to use my educational for something bigger than myself was an unforgettable experience.
I am now the OSU-EWB project lead and we recently initiated a new civil works project in the Dominican Republic. It’s hard to describe the excitement I have for interacting with a new people and culture. It has been quite the experience leading others to become engaged as engineers internationally, and overall becoming global citizens with a purpose.