~ Janice Hemen, TX
"As I reflect on our time here thus far, I think about the days that led up to this trip. When I first made plans to join Global Volunteers in Portugal, I was excited at the prospect of challenging myself to travel alone and to teach, as I dread any sort of public speaking. But a few days before I left Maryland, I was filled with fear, anxiety and apprehension. Fast forward five days, and those thoughts and fears no longer exist. It has been a true joy getting to know this motley crew, all of us with different backgrounds and personalities, yet bonded by our eagerness to learn about and explore Portugal and share our knowledge of English with our students."
~ Maria Geronimo, MD
"When you become part of a group, you easily and quickly become acquainted friends and familiar. This has happened on our Global Volunteers team, and in our schools. When we see one of our teammates outside on the sidewalk, you feel a special warmth of friendship. At school, the children react in the same joyful way. They already feel a link with us when we see them outside the classroom if we have visited and shared in their classroom. There is a fondness among us."
~ Ann Kawell, CA
“We all arrived in Portugal with our dreams of helping to wage peace with another culture through mutual communication, interaction, and respect. I truly believe our dreams came true during our two weeks in Beja.”
~ Leon Youngpeter, IN
“This morning we said our first ‘goodbye’. Just last week we greeted our first class with ‘hello’. How quickly I became attached to our students. I don’t remember their names but I do remember who plays the piano, who likes to read Harry Potter and who is the mother of a 2-year-old son. What will they remember about us? We rarely know the impact we have on students. We all do the best we can with high expectations, loads of creativity, good humor, and supportive colleagues. Perhaps they’ll remember the storytelling, the performances, silly games and dances, or a photo of a cake-baking granddaughter because they, too, bake cakes.”
~ Mary Sue Voth, IL
“Funny how much [the students] are like our students at home. They smile, laugh, and are so open to anything—that distracts them from their regular day! Nothing like having someone new in your class. I feel humble when I realize these children know more English than I know Portuguese. I’m not sure who is going to grow the greatest from this experience—the children or me!”
~ Mary Ann Buchanon, PA