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Sara's Volunteer Experience: Here's What I've Done, What Can You Do?

                            

Gaining inspiration from the devoted team members of La Bastilla and the positive reactions of the mesmerized visitors has allowed me to accomplish many professional and personal achievements in under 30 days. Prior to my visit I had only hoped for resume building responsibilities, unaware that I would be a part of the growth of a delicate system aimed to gradually impact the future of the young through practical education. Working here provides reciprocal benefits, for my skills and capabilities increase their awareness, and La Bastilla expands my personal development in many ways. 

What I’ve done for La Bastilla will help diminish the questions visitors have about the project and their efforts. I began my adventure working alongside the students to indulge in their weekly routines. I observed all departments of the school and became more familiar in the project’s goals, achievements, and fundamental values. I knew I would be mostly working with the hotel business, because my specialties include communications and tourism, and since the hotel brings in the most revenue for the school, La Bastilla placed me accordingly; I enhanced the information handbook for the guests at the hotel so the future visitors will have updated and clear information about the services provided, I carefully analyzed the La Bastilla hotel website and added reasonable context vital for the attention of the website viewers, promoted the business through various social media channels, conducted marketing research about La Bastilla’s position in the industry, designed an informational brochure for international tourists and journalists with details about the entire La Bastilla project and how the hotel plays a role in the students’ education, aided in updating the volunteer program for prospective volunteers, and wrote 3 blogs regarding my personal experience with the project. These tasks don’t include my unscheduled accomplishments, for example constantly taking photos promoting the student’s work, holding weekly English lessons for voluntary students, and taking part in cultural festivities.

Getting to know the students and staff is extremely remarkable and beneficial because one can admire the various dimensions in backgrounds, qualities, and progression uniquely rooted in each person. To be submerged in such a cooperative environment, one would never know that the La Bastilla family had no previous relations with each other. But the most convivial part of being a volunteer is that they want to get to know you; they are rarely exposed to associations with foreigners and are interested in understanding you if you welcome the idea.

Along with the incomparable memories one will make with the people, one mustn’t forget to absorb and appreciate the pristine beauty of the surrounding land. Its greatness and powers will mystify even the most experienced scenic travelers, such as myself. Even the smallest measure of time spent here will connect a city-lover to Pachamama. 

After spending 6 weeks at La Bastilla, I have learned a lot more about their efforts to become a financially sustainable business, and their goal to provide unique classroom, social, and practical education for the students. I admire their immediate action to improve the program whenever they are able, for instance they hired two more specialists to help look after the different business and farm areas to ensure professionalism and order among the students. I applaud the students who don’t take for granted their unique opportunity. Not only does the experience at La Bastilla improve the students’ skills, it also allows more time for them to think about what they would like to do in their future. One way they do this is provide the third year students a two week internship working in their field of interest before they graduate so that they can implement their knowledge into other functioning businesses in other cities. La Bastilla is full of good virtue and full of surprises; I cannot wait to see all the successes that come from the school and their businesses in the near future. 


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