Hey guys! When I first heard of Engineers Without Borders as a freshman I was drawn in by the prospect to travel. But when I joined the club and had the opportunity to live in Honduras, I realized it was much more than just traveling with other engineers and working on projects. It is one thing to experience a region as a tourist, but you do not appreciate the beauty and subtle things that gives a city its identity. Living with the everyday Honduran family and working alongside Honduran workers, I gained a new appreciation for the town. I would even venture to say i enjoyed this more than staying at a nice hotel with full amenities. I realized we, Engineers without Borders, travel to these places not to live the same lifestyle we are accustomed to in California. We travel to learn culture other countries have to offer and in return we bring able hands to assist and coordinate quality projects to benefit a community.
In high school I volunteered for numerous non-profits, charities, and social service organizations exposing me to some of the hardships many individuals face on a daily basis. Whether I handed out food packages, built them something, or coordinated community outreach events, the level of genuine happiness there does not come close to the appreciation I felt from the Honduran people. We literally were the only non-native people in the town so we stuck out like a sore thumb. However, the townspeople were exceptionally friendly with the understanding that we were there to help in any way we could. In embracing this foreign culture, I will never forget the food and merchandise for sale around the market. Though there were times I did not know exactly what I was eating, the food was very good and something I will always cherish. Aside from the travel opportunity, I made many lasting friendships and many more memories. The trips to these countries are tons of fun, but does involve work. Not only is it rare to have actually worked alongside a fellow undergraduate student on an engineering project, but there is not another student organization with as much engineering diversity as EWB! If you enjoy a collaborative and friendly working environment and of course like to travel, I would definitely recommend checking out Engineers Without Borders, USC – Chapter!
Until next time, stay frosty!