Every year in October students have the opportunity to apply for the Amigos program, which allows students who have taken Spanish for at least two years to spend time volunteering in Latin American countries. In order to be accepted, prospective students have an interview, and then attend meetings throughout the year to discuss the program and fundraising.
At a meeting in early January, there were presentations on various countries to give the students a better idea of which places they were interested in going. Although the students submitted their location preferences on Jan. 11, they won’t know until Feb. 21 where they have been assigned to go.
Two new Amigos students are juniors Emily Walter and Brena Levy. Walter applied to various towns in Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico. Levy applied in Ecuador, two towns in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
“We all have accounts online with different deadlines and forms, and one of the forms had our choices where we had to put [them] in,” Walter said. “We’ve all been thinking about what projects we’re interested in. [The presentations] were so interesting and helped us make a more clear decision for our own choice.”
No matter which country a student ends up going to, Amigos provides many unique opportunities, giving them full cultural immersion and make them part of a community different from what they know.
“My older sister did [Amigos] five years ago and it completely changed her life, and I immediately knew I wanted to do it since then,” Walter said. “I really have a passion for learning Spanish so I can speak it throughout my life.”
Once they find out where they are going, the students will spend a portion of their summer volunteering in that country and come back knowing a little bit more about the world.
“I love traveling and I’m so interested in learning about other cultures because the world is so big and completely different than our Johnson County lives,” Walter said.