Skip to main content

As we were reflecting on our final project in the final minutes of our last meeting, our on-site location expert Ricardo told us, “Many times when people study what is going on in Peru, Bolivia, etc., people feel sad. Don’t feel sad for what is going on in Peru or any of the hardships people in the country face. It’s not something to be sad about, it’s something to learn…which is what you all did during these past three weeks.”

This felt like the best conclusion to the ACE program as it continued on the conversation that we had at summer kick-off meeting with Dr. Mlyn. Here, he encouraged us to go in our program with a sense of humility and a feeling that we did not know everything. Applying this sense of humility allowed me to get the most out of my ACE journey because it allowed me to approach things in a way that I hadn’t before, thanks in part to the guidance of the individuals such as the GVI team, Ricardo, and guest speakers who work directly in nonprofit organizations.

“Applying this sense of humility allowed me to get the most out of my ACE journey because it allowed me to approach things in a way that I hadn’t before.”

– Rick Mihm, Stanford Men’s Swimming and Diving

One speaker who really gave me a new perspective on how I approach things in my life was Rory from RecycleRebuild, a nonprofit based in Scotland. Rory told us about his whole journey in sustainable development, starting first with his initial failures. In his first couple projects, he designed and built structures to be used for community engagement, yet when he returned years later he found that they were untouched as nobody in the community had any use for it. He then told us how, like Dr. Mlyn had advised, he also had to go through a change of approach for his work, entering into his work with a mindset that he knew what was best for the community.

Now, he has found immense success with his nonprofit that trains members of a community to recycle waste into building materials and other products. His story also reflected the perseverance one must have in their own profession, as you may not get to the place that you want to be immediately; you have to get knocked down a couple of times before you can find your footing.

“One of the most impressive things about this program is that I was able to take away so much from the program, yet was also able to commit myself towards a full practice schedule for swimming and complete other summer research work on campus.”

– Rick Mihm, Stanford Men’s Swimming and Diving

One of the most impressive things about this program is that I was able to take away so much from the program, yet was also able to commit myself towards a full practice schedule for swimming and complete other summer research work on campus. This was what made the virtual program super enticing for someone with a busy schedule. Yet, despite being thousands of miles away from Peru, I was still able to fully engage with the culture and community through the partner meetings with our nonprofit, CDS, and Ricardo who taught us everything from Peruvian cooking to politics. Each session with the team was a new adventure for the day and allowed me to achieve ACE’s mission of immersive, collaborative learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.