the FLYTE students on a field trip in Colombia standing in front of a yellow church

Published: 8/26/2019 August 26th, 2019

After I began my nonprofit Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), transpire ended up being to make worldwide travel available to low-earnings youth across the nation, who’re incredibly passionate and smart but would not possess the chance to visit abroad otherwise.

Captured, we elevated $15,000 to transmit several kids from Picture Academy to Colombia.

Situated in Oakland California, Picture Academy uses a cutting-edge project-based learning model to make sure that its students — nearly all whom live underneath the poverty line — are prepared for publish-secondary education and beyond. (The majority are first-generation immigrants and will also be the very first within their family to visit college.)

Recently, they came back using their exciting visit to the nation and so i desired to share a number of the things they did and learned, so that you can see what your support accomplished. For the majority of the students, it had been their very first time internationally and, pointless to state, it’d a big effect in it.

We began in Bogotá, where they rose to the peak of Cerro de Monserrate and explored Plaza Bolívar, where Jeremy, the teacher leading the trip, gave a mix-curricular lecture about Simon Bolívar, Colombia’s history throughout the drug cartel years, and also the architecture around them. Additionally they continued a street art tour brought by two local artists, which they learned about art techniques and also the political climate that motivated most of the pieces they saw.

the FLYTE students enjoying a street art tour in Colombia

The scholars immediately began seeing commonalities between Oakland and Colombia. Darrilyn, a 15 years old sophomore, pointed out that this trip, her very first time overseas, “changed my perceptions and preconceived notions of Colombia a great deal, and that i saw that it is a lot more like home than I formerly thought.” She also “really enjoyed reading this walking tour since i like art and that i like graffiti because it’s unconventional art also it informs the storyline of the person.”

Afterward, the audience headed to Cartagena. They were given an ideal intro towards the city on the walking tour through our partner, Context Travel, where they many userful stuff here about Cartagena’s history like a port for enslaved people. This resonated using the students, who stressed how important it had been for additional individuals to have this understanding. Kai, whose new passport took its first stamp about this trip, had the conclusion that “when people consider South America, they frequently don’t consider people of African descent.”

the FLYTE students on a tour around Cartagena with Context Tours

Myani, who’s 17 and merely finished Picture Academy, was equally moved: “It’s inspiring in ways because despite the fact that our ancestors were enslaved, they provided the town what it’s. You can observe their value towards the community. Despite the fact that there’s an oppressive connotation, simply because they were enslaved, switch it and turn it into a effective lesson. Allow it to be your personal: My ancestors built this city.”

On the top of this, the scholars immersed themselves in Colombian cuisine if you take a street food tour with Cartagena Connections. They attempted from ajiaco and arepas to bandeja paisa, mango biche, along with a bubble gum soda.

Among the popular features of the trip was visiting Cartagena’s Barrio Bay Area with Alex Rocha from Experience Real Cartagena, whose tours are made to make much deeper connections using the marginalized communities of Colombia. (Alex’s company also operates like a social enterprise, so the proceeds fund an after-school program for the local people.) Our students had an chance for connecting with a few of these youth through pursuits like drawing, dancing, and soccer, in addition to through honest conversations regarding their shared encounters.

the FLYTE students in Colombia

Aliza, a sophomore and president from the student council who’d never left the united states before, felt this was the highlight of her trip because she could “see the children and understand their atmosphere and just how they live every single day.” Jany, who’s 17 and offered because the de-facto translator for the Spanish-speaking parents, reflected about how the children she met “make the most out of what they’ve. They’re grateful and humble and try to try to look for something positive.”

Tayvion, a 14-year-old who also was traveling abroad the very first time, were built with a deep conversation and among the Colombian kids about police brutality. When Tayvion requested when they had guns, his new friend responded, “Yes, however they never shoot.” Getting attracted parallels and distinctions together with his own community, Tayvion shared his devastating realization: “It helped me consider how, for officials within the U.S., their first instinct is simply to shoot.” (In my experience, that&#8217s an unfortunate statement from a kid and merely teaches you up much police violence is definitely an everyday fact for most people within this country.)

the FLYTE students on a walking tour in Colombia

Throughout this whole journey, the audience required part in daily glare. They shared their encounters, learned from each other, and glued over how they’d altered through the trip.

Joshua, a sophomore who’d never even left California before trip, stated the greatest training he’d learned were: “Do require what you have as a given. Don’t let yourself be afraid to test something totally new. Finally, never be scared to discover new people.”

Waldo, who’s a junior, shared that, “we ought to be open-minded about other cultures and individuals ’cause we may have some similarities between us and them. We shouldn’t judge a people or culture according to their past alone.”

the FLYTE students on a walking tour in Colombia

These new encounters not just shifted their mindset, they also made the scholars consider their future and goals. Yasmeen told us, “I have lots of dreams. There are plenty of benefits in america, and I am not likely to waste time. I ought to travel many find out about different cultures.”

Additionally towards the understanding that they acquired, Veronica shared that her “goals will be to help my community with the work which i do. I believe this trip will help to me make that happen because I’ve recognized how similar my community is by using the city of Cartagena. We are able to use other metropolitan areas from various countries to assist one another using the issues we are dealing with.”

Similarly, Ronald, students who had been excited to relay his encounters together with his stepmom (who’s from Colombia), shared that “this trip helped me open-minded to various cultures and makes me propose unity within communities in Oakland.”

And, inside a quote I especially love, Darrilyn stated of her amount of time in Colombia: “My hopes and dreams should be a political analyst and also to travel the planet. This trip demonstrated me there’s no fear to visit.”

For this reason FLYTE exists: to produce moments and training such as this for college students to allow them to begin to see the world outdoors their borders and dream big.

the FLYTE students at the airport leaving for Colombia

The encounters these students been on Colombia made indelible mark in it. Many of them had not been in an airplane before their visit to Colombia. Not just did they find out about the history and culture of some other country they also discovered the way a community can rise in occasions of adversity.

Around the last times of their trip, the scholars began planning how they’re going to do this home. Certainly one of their ideas was to produce a mural, similar to the ones they saw in Colombia, to teach others about how exactly Oakland is constantly on the overcome its struggles.

Due to this trip, these youth are in possession of a larger understanding around the globe and also the power both need to change it out for that better.

***

And, so, our mission continues!

I wish to appreciate helping achieve this! It requires a whole network of passionate individuals and companies to operate one of these simple journeys, so we desired to celebrate a lot of our partners who chose to make this trip this kind of unforgettable experience for the students:

  • World Nomads, which donated our travel cover. Knowing that they us covered for just about any unforeseen conditions, like lost luggage, gave us such reassurance.
  • Selian Hostel in Cartegena for supplying tours and breakfast for that students totally free.
  • Javier from MYGHT travel, who made the daunting procedure for booking flights for several 20+ a seamless and stress-free experience.
  • Context Travel, which labored around to craft unique, immersive encounters (for a cheap price!) for the students.
  • Alex Rocha from Experience Real Cartagena for opening his community to all of us and supplying us having a deep link with the astonishing people of Barrio Bay Area.
  • Bluffworks, our newest corporate partners, which covered the expense of three students to consider this journey a person can have.
  • Allyson and also the team from wikiHow, who highlighted us on their own platform and backed one student about this trip.
  • The Worldwide TEFL Academy, for donating 50% from the arises from its Educate Abroad Film Festival to FLYTE.
  • Lo &#038 Sons, for matching donations during our extremely effective #GivingTuesday campaign and discussing our story using their audience.
  • Lia from Practical Wanderlust, who compensated her very own method to join the trip and taken a lot of incredible pics and vids. She seemed to be the mastermind behind FLYTE’s IG tales throughout the trip! We like how she could document the students’ experience of this kind of authentic, effective, and unintrusive way.

Last, and surely most famously, thank you towards the a large number of you that donated to FLYTE. Your generosity through the years has sent 70 students on existence-altering journeys abroad. The outcome of those journeys extends beyond just these youth. Due to you, the wave of positive change will ripple through their communities and also the world in particular. Together using the lead, I understand certainly our future is vibrant. Thanks all to make this kind of immeasurable impact!

Because the world builds walls, we’re helping tear them lower and showing a brand new generation that there’s more which brings us together than tears us apart.

If you wish to find out more about FLYTE and the best way to help send more students abroad, get more information at more details.

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Photo Credit: All photos fit in with Lia from Practical Wanderlust who had been there helping document the trip!

The publish FLYTE Update: Here&#8217s What Went Down towards the Students We Delivered to Colombia made an appearance first on Nomadic Matt&#039s Travel Site.

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