June 13, 2014
June 13th
Student-Athlete Development: Dominican Republic Blog

It was very bittersweet waking up this morning to a quiet house. We arrived back in Blacksburg yesterday around 11pm and went our separate ways. I have been spending these past 10 days with a group of students and staff that now share a connection that is unexplainable. It is strange not spending the whole day with them anymore. We became so accustomed to spending every moment with each other, working together and reflecting about our day, that now I feel I am missing something. We started as a group of strangers looking for ourselves and venturing on an unknown adventure, but now the task is to translate our new experiences into our normal lives.

We met for lunch today to get together before the weekend, because frankly, I don’t think we would be able to handle that much time away from each other quite yet. We sat in the stands of Lane Stadium and reflected on the trip, sharing laughs and memories from the past 10 days. Danny talked to us about making the transition back to reality. It is difficult to visit an undeveloped country for ten days, and experience poverty and suffering firsthand. Now we make the transition back to a country that is filled with everything imaginable. Simply having clean water and abundant food can bring you a feeling of guilt thinking about the kids we left behind. We are so lucky to be blessed with the life we have, and I think we learned not to take that for granted. Making the transition will be difficult at times, but we will stick together as a group and work through the things that bother us.

I can speak for the whole group when I say this trip truly changed our lives. We now have different perspectives of life, and have learned things about ourselves that we would not have been able to discover without this class. Our leadership skills have improved greatly, and we now know how to work together to get things done. I feel that I now know more about the world, and I am becoming more of a global citizen. We are now determined to make some sort of change to help in the DR. It will start small but maybe it can grow into something big. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to take this class, because without it, I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today.

We would like to thank Danny for giving us this great opportunity, he has put in years of work to make this trip possible, and help develop it into an amazing trip. Thank you to Jon Jaudon, Dr. Rick and Donna Rudd, for providing us guidance throughout the trip and in the classroom. A big thank you to Hokie Nation for supporting the athletic department. Your support is what allows the athletic department to leave its footprint across the world. Thank you to anyone who has read this blog, as much as this trip moved us, we have loved to give you a quick look into what we have been experiencing in the DR. This trip has been an eye opening and amazing experience. I am so grateful to have experienced all that I have, and I will cherish every memory made in the DR.

Kelsey Allen

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