Living abroad / Viviendo en el extranjero

Monica Loureiro / Portugal

ESPAÑOL ABAJO

Since I was a child, a dreamed of traveling the world. As I grow up, I had the opportunity to start doing it… first, to visit some family, then some friends and eventually, to explore countries and cities on my own.

It might sound silly but at some point, it was almost like traveling wasn’t enough and I was ready to live in another country.  That was around the time I started university and so, as soon as I could, I signed up to go and study abroad.

It was my second year, second semester and, as part of the Erasmus – an exchange programme, I moved to Lithuania for six months. I had no idea how this experience was about to change my life! So, in mid January, bellow 5 degrees and lots of snow, I arrived at this beautiful, tiny country in the Baltics, the heart of Europe.

During my time there, I met wonderful people from many nationalities, I witness amazing traditions and festivities, I learned about its culture and history and most of all, I had to adapt. Adapt to the way people are and act, adapt to the weather, the food, the language, everything. That was the best part, the change.

But that was just the beginning…Sooner than later, I was about to move to Mexico, to Our Cabaña! Six months living across the ocean, away from my family, friends and everything that is familiar. But then again, that’s exactly what I strive for, the challenge and the excitement of a new adventure.

Coming here has made me grow so much. I can tell that living abroad has taught more that could hope for! The tolerance to respect different believes, to appreciate the small things, to always look outside the window, to see the beauty in nature, colours, songs and laughs.

My journey in Mexico is about to end but I already have new destinations in mind. Fingers crossed that the next country I move to is to do a master in my field of work!


 

Desde niña soñé con viajar por el mundo. A medida que crecí, tuve la oportunidad de comenzar a hacerlo … primero, visitanado a algunos familiares, luego algunos amigos y, finalmente, explorar países y ciudades por mi cuenta.

Puede parecer tonto, pero en algún momento fue como si viajar no fuera suficiente y estuviera preparada para vivir en otro país. Esa fue la época en que empecé la universidad y, tan pronto como pude, me inscribí para ir a estudiar al extranjero.

En mi segundo año de universidad y como parte de “Erasmus”, -un programa de intercambio-, me mudé a Lituania durante seis meses. ¡No tenía idea de cómo esta experiencia iba a cambiar mi vida! Entonces, a mediados de enero, a -5 C grados y mucha nieve, llegué a ese hermoso y pequeño país en el Báltico, el corazón de Europa.

Durante mi tiempo allí, conocí a gente maravillosa de muchas nacionalidades, tuve la oportunidad de experimentar tradiciones y festividades asombrosas, aprendí sobre su cultura e historia y, sobre todo, tuve que adaptarme. Adaptarme a la forma en que la gente es y actúa, al clima, a la comida, al idioma, a todo. ¡Esa fue la mejor parte, el cambio!

Pero eso fue sólo el comienzo… ¡Más temprano que tarde, estaba a punto de mudarme a México, a Nuestra Cabaña! Seis meses viviendo al otro lado del océano, lejos de mi familia, amigos y todo lo que me es familiar. Pero, de nuevo, eso es exactamente por lo que me esfuerzo, el desafío y la emoción de una nueva aventura.

Venir aquí me ha hecho crecer mucho. ¡Puedo decir que vivir en el extranjero me ha enseñado más de lo que podría esperar! La tolerancia, respetar las diferentes creencias, a apreciar las cosas pequeñas, a mirar siempre por la ventana, a ver la belleza de la naturaleza, los colores, las canciones y las risas.

Mi viaje a México está por terminar, pero ya tengo nuevos destinos en mente. ¡Los dedos cruzados para que en el siguiente país al que me mude pueda hacer una maestría en mi campo de trabajo!

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Our Cabaña and Steven /Nuestra Cabaña y Steven

Diana / Durango, Mexico

Hello I am Diana and I’m a volunteer at our Cabaña.

When you are in Our Cabaña, you feel that you belong somewhere, that you have the opportunity to find the best version of yourself by growing and helping others to grow. Being a volunteer has given me the opportunity to meet incredible people from different parts of the world, with which I have lived, learned and I have mostly come to have a friendship with. I’ve made friends that I hope I’ll share my path with, now and forever. At Our Cabaña you live in an atmosphere of acceptance and diversity. This place is surrounded by fantastic gardens and a pleasant climate for all the people attending.

Life as a volunteer is really fantastic, you learn to work with a team that has several leadership styles, where some complement to each other, sharing outlets, small trips, jokes, talks at night, moments of relaxation in the gardens and of course, we must not forget the many Oreos we have shared. By the way;  Elise’s mother (one of the volunteers) came to visit us and brought us many flavours of Oreos with her!

What I have lived in Our Cabaña reminded me of one of my favourite series… Steven Universe.  “We are the Crystal Gems, we’ll always save the day, and if you think we can’t we’ll always find a way, that’s what the people of this world believe in…”. It’s one of the first Cartoon Network productions that’s made by a woman!

When you discover the aesthetic and theoretical background behind Steven Universe, it becomes an explosion of creativity and fun. It mixes the simple daily happenings with a touch of science fiction, adventure and fantasy. You soon realize that it’s a show many years ahead from everything else.

It’s new and it has a message that is delivered in a gorgeous animated style that defends and promotes life and a future with diversity, tolerance, multicultural aspects, love, comprehension and inclusion. Literally, it’s a universe that goes with the new times and societies, leaving conservative and racism of race, sex, gender, or religion aside. Here what matters are the relationships, the good and bad included. I’ve seen many situations here at our Cabaña that have allowed me to be part of all of this diversity since we work with all those things I’ve said about the series (I mean tolerance, multicultural, acceptance, tolerance, etc.).

“Being in Our Cabaña gives you the opportunity to express yourself freely, to love, to live your identity, as well as at the same time it’s a challenge that we can face using the tools we have been acquiring” and with all this, that’s why this is really “the place where dreams come true ”

In conclusion: A unique opportunity in life.


Hola soy Diana y soy voluntaria en Nuestra Cabaña.

Al estar en nuestra cabaña sientes que perteneces a un lugar, Tienes la oportunidad de encontrarte a ti misma en tu mejor versión, seguir creciendo y ayudar a los demás a crecer, ser voluntaria me ha dado la oportunidad de conocer personas increíbles de diferentes partes del mundo, con las que he convivido, aprendido y sobre todo he llegado a tener una amistad, amigos que espero me acompañen desde este momento, y durante toda mi vida. Se vive en un ambiente de aceptación y diversidad. Este lugar está rodeado de fantásticos jardines que hacen de la cabaña un lugar con un clima agradable para todas las personas que asisten.

La vida como voluntaria es realmente fantástica aprendes a trabajar con un equipo que tiene varios estilos de liderazgo, donde unas nos complementamos a las otras, compartiendo salidas, pequeños viajes, chistes, platicas nocturnas, momentos de relajación en los jardines y por supuesto no hay que olvidarnos de las muchas oreos que hemos compartido. Por cierto; ¡la mamá de Elise una de las voluntarias vino a visitarnos y nos trajo oreos de muchos sabores!

Lo que he vivido en la cabaña me recordó a una de mis series favoritas… Steven universe, “We are the Crystal Gems We’ll always save the day, And if you think we can’t We’ll always find a way, That’s why the people of this world believe in…”. Es la primera producción de Cartoon Network en ser creada por una Mujer.

Cuando descubres el trasfondo estético y teórico de Steven Universe es una explosión de creatividad y diversión. Mezclando de forma genial historias simples, cercanas y cotidianas con rollos de ciencia ficción, aventura y fantasía. Te das cuenta que es un programa que está a años luz de lo visto, una revelación, pero en el trato y mensaje está la clave, con un estilo animado precioso, delicado, colorido, que promueve y aboga por un presente diverso, tolerante, multicultural, amoroso y comprensivo e inclusivo. Literalmente un nuevo universo animado acorde a los nuevos tiempos y sociedades, dejando de lado conservadurismos y discriminaciones de raza, sexo, género o culto. Aquí valen las personas y las relaciones, con sus bondades y defectos; situaciones como las que hemos estado viviendo dentro de la cabaña siendo voluntaria, que me han permitido también ser parte de toda esta diversidad, ya que trabajamos lo anteriormente descrito de la serie (me refiero a la tolerancia, multicultural, aceptación, tolerancia etc.,).

“Estar en Nuestra Cabaña te da la oportunidad de expresarte libremente, de amar, de vivir tu identidad, así como también es un reto que podemos enfrentar usando las herramientas que hemos ido adquiriendo” y con todo esto, lograr que realmente sea “el lugar donde los sueños se convierten en realidad”. En conclusión: Una oportunidad única en la vida.

 

Volunteer changed me /

Aileen Stewart | Scotland

One of the most formative experiences I have had in Girlguiding was a trip that I took part in during the Summer of 2015. I went to Switzerland with a group of girls from across Scotland, where we visited Our Chalet. While I was there I experienced so many things and my eyes were opened to the opportunities that were available to me through Guiding. One moment that stands out to me is a conversation I had with one of the volunteers at Our Chalet, who spoke about her time volunteering at a world centre. It was then, at 15 years old that I started to consider seeking a volunteer position abroad. I was studying Spanish at school so Our Cabaña appealed to me, however, it all seemed too far off in the future to seriously consider it, but the idea had been planted in the back of my mind.

Two years later, I had just finished my last exam and was beginning the process of applying to university. I then felt fed up with the same routine of the school of constantly having homework and doing tests. I craved change – to meet new people, see new places and experience new things. I just didn´t know how. Travelling alone seemed daunting but the prospect of going straight back into formal education seemed worse.

It was then that I began to seriously consider applying to Our Cabaña as a volunteer. There were many things about it that scared me – travelling alone across the world, struggling with the language, getting homesick, if I would enjoy it, or if I would actually make a good volunteer. I put off applying because I created these barriers that I perceived were stopping me. One day I realised that the only thing stopping me was myself.

Eventually, with the help of my family, leader, and a lovely past volunteer, I made the decision to apply. Much to my surprise, I was offered an interview that was followed by an e-mail informing me that I was selected to be a Summer volunteer. It was very unexpected, and I felt really proud of myself that I had the courage to apply and go through with my application.

The following months were a rush of flight tickets, e-mails, and packing. Until finally, on the 25th of June 2018, I set off to Our Cabaña to begin one of the best experiences of my life.

If I could give advice to anyone who is considering to apply to be a volunteer, it would be to accept that sometimes things are scary. If you can push past all your fears and self-doubts then you will gain more than you could possibly imagine. Ultimately, you develop the most when you are out of your comfort zone. There is no better place to learn and grow as a person than Our Cabaña. The culmination of supportive staff, leadership opportunities, interaction with participants from all over the world, and the lifelong friendships that you develop are what makes Our Cabaña so special.

Before coming to Our Cabaña, I felt that I had to follow a set path and deviating from it would be too much of a risk, but now my outlook has completely changed. I have decided to stay on at Our Cabaña as an Autumn volunteer for an additional 4 months. I have deferred my university to next year and I plan to work, travel, explore more of the world, and experience the wonderful opportunities that guiding has to offer. If I had to say just one thing that I have learnt from this experience is that if you want something in life, you should just go for it because you will never know quite where you could end up.


 

Una de las experiencias más formativas que yo he tenido en Guías fue un viaje en el cual yo participé durante el verano de 2015, incluyendo una visita a Nuestro Chalet, con un grupo de niñas de todo Escocia. Mientras yo estaba ahí, experimenté tantas cosas y mis ojos estaban atentos de algunas de las oportunidades que estaban disponibles para mí en Guías. Un momento que destaca es una conversación que tuve con una de las voluntarias de Nuestro Chalet, quien habló sobre su tiempo trabajando como voluntaria en un centro mundial y la excelente oportunidad que significa. Fue entonces, cuando a la edad de 15 años, yo empecé a considerar el buscar un puesto de voluntaria en el extranjero. Estaba estudiando español en la escuela así que Nuestra Cabaña me llamó la atención, sin embargo, todo parecía muy lejos en el futuro, como para considerarlo seriamente. Pero la idea ya estaba metida en mi cabeza.

Después de dos años, terminé recientemente mis exámenes más importantes, estaba comenzando el proceso de aplicar a las universidades, y completamente cansada con la misma rutina de la escuela, los deberes y los exámenes. Yo sabía que estaba ansiando el cambio – de conocer personas nuevas, ver lugares nuevos y experimentar cosas nuevas. Simplemente no sabía cómo. Viajar sola parecía abrumador pero la perspectiva de regresar en seguida a mis estudios pareció peor.

Fue entonces que comencé a considerar seriamente de aplicar a Nuestra Cabaña como una voluntaria. Había muchas cosas sobre el cual me asustó – viajar sola a través del mundo, luchar con la lengua, si pudiera disfrutarlo, si extrañaría mi casa, si realmente fuera una buena voluntaria. Lo dejaba para luego porque de las barreras que percibí me estaban deteniendo. Entonces, un día me di cuenta que la sola cosa me detiene fue yo.

Finalmente, con la ayuda de mi líder, mi familia y una voluntaria anterior simpática, yo tomé la decisión de aplicar y envió mi aplicación. A mi sorpresa, me ofrecieron una entrevista, seguido por un correo electrónico me informó que yo había sido seleccionado lo que una voluntaria. Fue muy inesperado, y me sentí muy orgulloso de mí mismo que actualmente había sido

Where in the world will I go with Girl Guides? /

When I finally turned 18 and became a leader, I had a dream. My dream was to volunteer at 4 out of the 5 world centres, Mexico, Switzerland, Pax Lodge, and Sangam. This year I was very fortunate to be able to start this dream in Mexico, at the world center called Our Cabaña.

When I first arrived I asked myself, what am I going to even do for 3 months? I was definitely asking the wrong question. I should have asked, what can’t I do in three months at Our Cabaña?

During my stay at Our Cabaña I have done amazing things such as: visited the ecological park, went waterfall jumping, discovered local art museums, and been on a trajinera (a type of Mexican boat that’s painted). I also toured places like: Mexico City, Tépozlan, downtown Cuernavaca, the anthropology museum, and hiked the pyramid of the sun. Best of all was going skydiving on my first day off.

I can definitely say that my dream to explore Mexico has been fulfilled while staying at Our Cabaña. My favourite part about my stay at Our Cabaña was the people I met from all over the world and learning about different cultures. I can now say that I have made over 200 or more friends during my stay.

Time has flown by and I can’t believe it. I only have two more weeks left at this gorgeous world centre. If you are thinking about volunteering at Our Cabaña, then I would encourage you to do it! You will develop your leadership skills, meet so many new people from around the world, learn about different cultures, and tasting all the amazing food.

As a Canadian Girl Guide I would like to thank WAGGGS as they financially supported this adventure by providing me with a travel grant to cover my travel costs.  I would also like to thank Our Cabaña as they provide free lodging and meals. They also showed me this beautiful World Centre and the surrounding area.

Start your World Centre journey at Our Cabaña – you will not regret it!

To apply click on the link below:

https://www.wagggs.org/en/our-world/world-centres/our-cabana/volunteer-at-our-cabana/volunteers/

Yours in Guiding,

Samantha Yarmiy

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 


 

From Participant to Volunteer

Brianna Ernest / Canada

Back in March of 2017 I was lucky enough to be able to come to Our Cabaña as a participant. My unit and I took part in Splash into Spring where we visited different towns and went shopping, went to a water park and got sunburnt, and completed a service project in the community. That week was amazing because I was able to bond with my unit more, and I was able to get to know the staff and volunteers. In fact, I got to know them so well that they encouraged me to apply for a volunteer position.

The moment I got home I started filling out the application. Our Cabaña had been my 4th World Center and by far one of my favourites. I could see myself staying there and being one of those volunteers that I looked up to. Months later I received an email explaining that I did not get chosen for the spring term that I originally applied for, but that they would love to keep my application and put it forward for the summer term; I happily agreed. Fast forward a few more months when another email popped into my inbox, asking if I was available for an interview. I scheduled my interview and then waited another month for the decision. I was ecstatic when I got the acceptance email for the summer term. I started making plans right away and soon enough, I was back at Our Cabaña.

If you were to tell me when I was a participant that I would be back here just over a year later, I would have laughed and never believed you. This opportunity has been amazing and so eye-opening. I have bonded with all the staff here and if you were to walk into our house you would honestly think we were a family. A family full of diversity. You can walk in and hear us arguing about the difference between Rockets and Smarties or having a lesson on different Scottish words. But you can also see us working as a solid team, working alongside our participants and allowing them to grow and have fun.

Our Cabaña is truly the place where dreams come true, leaving as a participant and returning as a volunteer is proof of that.

Cookies and service / Galletas y servicio

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Jackie Ann Gadziala / USA

Spanish below

Excitement, homesickness, emails, uniforms, service, and Oreos have been my foundation for my first week of volunteering at the Our Cabaña. I came a week later than the other volunteers, so I was nervous to how I would catch up and if I already missed out on too many inside jokes. I was mistaken. I believe the staff and volunteers at Our Cabaña to be the nicest people in Mexico. I felt safe, welcome, and any awkward moment I experienced soon became moments of fun. Although it was difficult at times to throw myself from one country to another, the “courage, confidence, and character” instilled in me from Girl Scouting pushed me to be the volunteer Our Cabaña deserved — to continuously be outgoing and to try my best.

Volunteering at Our Cabaña is emotionally and physically tiring, but 100% worth it. I really struggled the first few days, but soon became acclimated and noticed the beautiful details of Our Cabaña that give my time here depth. Everyone’s experience is different, so my advice to future volunteers is to commit to your time here, make goals about what you want to learn/do, and then go out there and make it happen. Within a week, I had traveled internationally by myself, met amazing new people, practiced my Spanish, tried new foods, started a take action project with one of the other volunteers, learned a lot about myself, and ultimately, had fun. I still have about seven weeks to go, so I know that I am in store for an unfathomable amount of memories that will change me for the better.

 


Spanish Version

Emoción, nostalgia, correos, uniformes, servicio y Oreos, han sido la base de mi primera semana en Nuestra Cabaña. Llegué una semana más tarde que las demás voluntarias, así que estaba un poco nerviosa sobre cómo me pondría al día y me preguntaba si ya me había perdido demasiadas bromas locales. Pero estaba equivocada. Creo que el personal y las voluntarias de Nuestra Cabaña son las personas más agradables de México. Me sentí segura, bienvenida y cualquier momento incómodo que pude haber sentido, enseguida se convirtió en un momento de diversión. Aunque a veces era difícil proyectarme entre un país y el otro, el “coraje, confianza y carácter” que aprendí y desarrollé en el Guidismo, me empujó a ser la voluntaria que Nuestra Cabaña merece, a ser continuamente extrovertida y a dar siempre lo mejor de mí, cada día.

El voluntariado en Nuestra Cabaña es emocional y físicamente agotador, pero vale la pena al 100%. Me costó al principio, pero logré adaptarme rápidamente y noté que Nuestra Cabaña tiene muchos detalles especiales, que le dan sentido a mi tiempo de voluntariado aquí.

La experiencia de cada persona es diferente, así que mi consejo para quienes quieren ser voluntarias en Nuestra Cabaña es que mantengan un compromiso real durante el tiempo que estén aquí, fíjense metas sobre lo que quieren aprender y hacer, después salgan y trabajen para hacerlas realidad.

En una semana he viajado sola internacionalmente, he conocido gente increíble, practicado mi español, probado comida nueva, iniciado un proyecto de propugnación con una voluntaria de otro país, aprendido mucho sobre mí misma y por supuesto me he divertido… Todavía tengo 7 semanas más por delante, así que sé que tendré innumerables aventuras y recuerdos, que me ayudarán a crecer y cambiar positivamente.

It ends, but it´s not the end / Se acaba pero no es el final

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ESPAÑOL ABAJO

Olivia Cheung, Hong Kong

After staying for almost 5 months as a Winter/Spring volunteer in Our Cabaña, it is the time to end the journey here. Five months ago, we started our journey with one of the other volunteer’s family to celebrate Christmas together.

In these 5 months, we definitely had loads of unforgettable crazy and silly moments with the volunteers, the staff and the participants. It was actually not easy for us to say goodbye to the participants every time an event finished. It was even harder to say goodbye to the fellow volunteers who had lived with you for 5 months. The moment to say goodbye finally came. It was sad but it is the start of another journey.

It is difficult to describe how much I gained from this experience in only a few words. The time here is not only about having fun with your friends, but also gaining valuable skills that are useful for your entire life. Aside from a World Centre like Our Cabaña, it would be difficult to find a place with people in such a wide diversity. It would also be difficult to find a place with unlimited support from the organization that aims to help you to develop to your full potential. It would also be difficult to find a place that allows you to learn from mistakes and give you a safe environment to challenge your weaknesses again. In here, I worked with people from more than 7 countries every day. We exchanged thoughts and ideas from different backgrounds. In here, I can raise out my ideas without the fear of being rejected as we tried our best to get things done but not hide from difficulties. I am glad that I had spent 5 months in Our Cabaña and will properly consider coming back again in the near future to find more treasure here.

To conclude my experience, we had a day trip to Xochicalco and Parque Nacional Grutas de Cacahuamilpa to mark the end of the season. Things always start and end with a reason, but the end of one journey always indicates the start of the next one.


 

Después de vivir en Nuestra Cabaña durante casi 5 meses como voluntaria de la temporada invierno/primavera es el momento de terminar el viaje. Hace 5 meses, empezamos nuestro viaje con la familia de una de las otras voluntarias para celebrar la Navidad juntas.

Durante estos 5 meses, definitivamente tuvimos muchos momentos locos e inolvidables con las voluntarias, el staff y los participantes. En realidad, no fue fácil despedirnos de los participantes cada vez que terminaba un evento. Fue aún más difícil despedirnos de las voluntarias con quienes vivimos durante 5 meses. El momento de despedirnos por fin llegó. Fue triste, pero sé que es el principio de otro viaje.

Es difícil describir cuanto he ganado de esta experiencia con unas pocas palabras. El tiempo aquí no solo se trata de divertirse con los amigos, sino de ganar habilidades valiosas que sirven para toda la vida. Aparte de un Centro Mundial como Nuestra Cabaña, sería difícil encontrar un lugar con gente de tanta diversidad. También sería difícil encontrar un lugar con apoyo incondicional de la organización que apunta a ayudarte aprender a desarrollar tu máximo potencial. También seria difícil encontrar un lugar que te deja aprender de tus errores y que te da un ambiente seguro para retar tus debilidades. Aquí trabajaba con gente de más de 7 países diferentes todos los días. Intercambiamos pensamientos e ideas de contextos diferentes. Aquí pude alzar la voz para expresar mis ideas sin tener miedo de ser rechazada mientras hacíamos todo lo posible para hacer las cosas, son huir de las dificultades. Me alegro de haber pasado 5 meses en Nuestra Cabaña y probablemente consideraría regresar en el futuro cercano para encontrar más tesoros aquí.

Para concluir mi experiencia tuvimos una excursión a Xochicalco y el Parque Nacional Grutas de Cacahuamilpa para marcar el final de la temporada. Las cosas siempre empiezan y terminan con una razón, pero el final de un viaje siempre indica el comienzo del próximo.