FLYTE Replace: Right here’s What Occurred to the College students We Despatched to Colombia

the FLYTE students on a field trip in Colombia standing in front of a yellow church
Posted: 8/26/2019 | August 26th, 2019

After I began my nonprofit Basis for Studying and Youth Journey Training (FLYTE), my objective was to make worldwide journey accessible to low-income youth throughout the nation, who’re extremely passionate and sensible however would by no means have the chance to journey overseas in any other case.

Earlier this 12 months, we raised $15,000 to ship a gaggle of youngsters from Envision Academy to Colombia.

Situated in Oakland California, Envision Academy makes use of an modern project-based studying mannequin to make sure that its college students — nearly all of whom stay under the poverty line — are prepared for post-secondary training and past. (Most are first-generation immigrants and would be the first of their household to go to varsity.)

Final month, they returned from their thrilling journey to the nation so I needed to share a few of what they did and realized, so you may see what your assist achieved. For many of the college students, it was their first time out of the country and, for sure, it had a big effect on them.

Our group began in Bogotá, the place they climbed to the highest of Cerro de Monserrate and explored Plaza Bolívar, the place Jeremy, the instructor main the journey, gave a cross-curricular lecture about Simon Bolívar, Colombia’s historical past in the course of the drug cartel years, and the structure round them. Additionally they went on a road artwork tour led by two native artists, on which they realized all about artwork strategies and the political local weather that prompted most of the items that they noticed.

the FLYTE students enjoying a street art tour in Colombia

The scholars instantly began seeing commonalities between Oakland and Colombia. Darrilyn, a 15 12 months outdated sophomore, remarked that this journey, her first time in a foreign country, “modified my perceptions and preconceived notions of Colombia lots, and I noticed that it’s extra like house than I beforehand thought.” She additionally “actually loved this strolling tour as a result of I like artwork and I like graffiti as a result of it’s unconventional artwork and it tells the story of an individual.”

Afterward, the group headed to Cartagena. They bought an ideal intro to the town on a strolling tour by our companion, Context Journey, throughout which they realized lots about Cartagena’s historical past as a port for enslaved folks. This resonated with the scholars, who careworn how vital it was for extra folks to have this data. Kai, whose new passport bought its first stamp on this journey, had the belief that “when folks take into consideration Latin America, they usually don’t take into consideration folks of African descent.”

the FLYTE students on a tour around Cartagena with Context Tours

Myani, who’s 17 and simply graduated from Envision Academy, was equally moved: “It’s inspiring in a method as a result of despite the fact that our ancestors had been enslaved, they made the town what it’s. You may see their worth to the neighborhood. Regardless that there’s an oppressive connotation, as a result of they had been enslaved, flip it and make it a strong lesson. Make it your personal: My ancestors constructed this metropolis.”

On high of all this, the scholars immersed themselves in Colombian delicacies by taking a road meals tour with Cartagena Connections. They tried every thing from ajiaco and arepas to bandeja paisa, mango biche, and a bubble gum soda.

One of many highlights of the journey was visiting Cartagena’s Barrio San Francisco with Alex Rocha from Expertise Actual Cartagena, whose excursions are designed to make deeper connections with the marginalized communities of Colombia. (Alex’s firm additionally operates as a social enterprise, and so the proceeds fund an after-school program for the area people.) Our college students had a possibility to attach with a few of these youth by actions like drawing, dancing, and soccer, in addition to by trustworthy conversations about their shared experiences.

the FLYTE students in Colombia

Aliza, a sophomore and president of the scholar council who had by no means left the US earlier than, felt that this was the spotlight of her journey as a result of she was capable of “see the children and perceive their atmosphere and the way they stay day by day.” Jany, who’s seventeen and served because the de-facto translator for our Spanish-speaking dad and mom, mirrored on how the children she met “make one of the best out of what they’ve. They’re grateful and humble and at all times attempt to discover one thing optimistic.”

Tayvion, a 14-year-old who additionally was touring overseas for the primary time, had a deep dialog with one of many Colombian youngsters about police brutality. When Tayvion requested if they’d weapons, his new pal replied, “Sure, however they by no means shoot.” Having drawn parallels and distinctions along with his personal neighborhood, Tayvion shared his devastating realization: “It made me take into consideration how, for officers within the U.S., their first intuition is simply to shoot.” (To me, that’s a tragic assertion coming from a child and simply exhibits you up a lot police violence is an on a regular basis truth for many individuals on this nation.)

the FLYTE students on a walking tour in Colombia

All through this complete journey, the group took half in day by day reflections. They shared their experiences, realized from each other, and bonded over how they’d modified all through the journey.

Joshua, a sophomore who had by no means even left California earlier than this journey, mentioned that the most important classes he’d realized had been: “Don’t take the matters you might have as a right. Don’t be afraid to strive new matters. Lastly, don’t be scared to find out about new folks.”

Waldo, who’s a junior, shared that, “we ought to be open-minded about different cultures and folks ’trigger we’d discover some similarities between us and them. We shouldn’t decide a folks or tradition primarily based on their previous alone.”

the FLYTE students on a walking tour in Colombia

These new experiences not solely shifted their mindset, however in addition they made the scholars take into consideration their future and objectives. Yasmeen instructed us, “I’ve quite a lot of desires. There are such a lot of advantages within the US, and I’m not going to waste my time. I ought to journey extra and find out about totally different cultures.”

Along with the data that she gained, Veronica shared that her “objectives are to assist my neighborhood with any of the work that I do. I feel this journey goes to assist me obtain that as a result of I’ve realized how related my neighborhood is with the neighborhood of Cartagena. We are able to use different cities from totally different nations to assist one another with the problems we’re going by.”

Equally, Ronald, a scholar who was excited to relay his experiences along with his stepmom (who’s from Colombia), shared that “this journey made me open-minded to totally different cultures and makes me suggest solidarity inside communities in Oakland.”

And, in a quote I particularly love, Darrilyn mentioned of her time in Colombia: “My hopes and desires are to be a political analyst and to journey the world. This journey confirmed me there isn’t any worry to journey.”

This is the reason FLYTE exists: to create moments and classes like this for college kids to allow them to see the world exterior their borders and dream large.

the FLYTE students at the airport leaving for Colombia

The experiences these college students had in Colombia left an indelible mark on them. Most of them had by no means been on a airplane earlier than their journey to Colombia. Not solely did they study in regards to the tradition and historical past of one other nation however in addition they found how a neighborhood can stand up in instances of adversity.

On the final days of their journey, the scholars began planning how they’re going to take motion again house. One in every of their concepts was to create a mural, very similar to those they noticed in Colombia, to coach others about how Oakland continues to beat its struggles.

Due to this journey, these youth now have an even bigger understanding of the world and the ability they every have to alter it for the higher.


And, so, our mission continues!

I wish to thanks for serving to make this occur! It takes a complete community of passionate people and companies to run considered one of these journeys, and we needed to have a good time a few of our companions who made this journey such an unforgettable expertise for our college students:

  • World Nomads, which donated all of our journey insurance coverage. Realizing that they’d us lined for any unexpected circumstances, like misplaced baggage, gave us such peace of thoughts.
  • Selian Hostel in Cartegena for offering excursions and breakfast for the scholars freed from cost.
  • Javier from MYGHT journey, who made the daunting technique of reserving flights for a gaggle of 20+ a seamless and stress-free expertise.
  • Context Journey, which labored with us to craft distinctive, immersive experiences (at a reduction!) for our college students.
  • Alex Rocha from Expertise Actual Cartagena for opening up his neighborhood to us and offering us with a deep connection to the superb folks of Barrio San Francisco.
  • Bluffworks, considered one of our latest company companions, which lined the prices of three college students to take this journey of a lifetime.
  • Allyson and the staff from wikiHow, who highlighted us on their platform and sponsored one scholar on this journey.
  • The Worldwide TEFL Academy, for donating 50% of the proceeds from its Educate Overseas Movie Pageant to FLYTE.
  • Lo & Sons, for matching donations throughout our wildly profitable #GivingTuesday marketing campaign and sharing our story with their viewers.
  • Lia from Sensible Wanderlust, who paid her personal strategy to be part of the journey and captured so many unimaginable photographs and movies. She was additionally the mastermind behind FLYTE’s IG tales in the course of the journey! We love how she was capable of doc the scholars’ expertise in such an genuine, highly effective, and unintrusive method.

Final, however actually not least, many due to the hundreds of you that donated to FLYTE. Your generosity over time has despatched 70 college students on life-changing journeys overseas. The influence of those journeys extends past simply these youth. Due to you, the wave of optimistic change will ripple by their communities and the world at giant. With them taking the lead, I do know no doubt that our future is vivid. Thanks all for making such an immeasurable influence!

Because the world builds partitions, we’re serving to tear them down and displaying a brand new era that there’s extra that brings us collectively than tears us aside.

If you wish to study extra about FLYTE and how one can assist ship extra college students overseas, click on right here for extra data.

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Photograph Credit score: All photographs belong to Lia from Sensible Wanderlust who was there serving to doc the journey!

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