I believe that the ACE program is the best thing that I can do with my time this summer. Looking beyond college, I think that the experience and skills that I develop through ACE will continue to serve me long after I finish my time as an athlete. I consider this opportunity to be not only fun, but a vital way for me to begin developing the cultural knowledge and experience I will need to continue with my life goals after college.
As part of the 2016 ACE in China program, participants will contribute to the sustainable development of underserved communities through youth environmental education and sports while learning about conservation and preservation in Yunnan Province.
Abby’s past experiences with service include coordinating groups of volunteers at the Urban Ministries soup kitchen in Durham in conjunction with Duke Athletics and her rowing teammates, and volunteering with the children at her local church.
Dear Future #ACEathletes,
- Best advice for learning about ACE: One of the first things I did when I was thinking of site selection was think of an area of the world I wanted to learn more about! I have always been interested in visiting China and discovering more about the history. I also had several friends that were ACE ambassadors to China and speaking with them was really instrumental in getting a more concrete idea of what I was getting into and what it would look like.
- Best advice for applying for ACE: Be excited! Applying for ACE is a process that helps you really try to understand why you want to perform service abroad. A huge piece of working with ACE is the ability to be adaptable and roll with the punches, something I wanted to build in myself. I achieved this by evaluating areas in my life to identify when I can be more adaptable and flexible.
- Best advice for getting started at your program: The first days were crazy as everyone got settled into the CERS center and started getting to know one another. I would say something that really helped me get my bearings was following the structure the site coordinators had already worked out. They put a tremendous amount of time and energy into the experience for us.
- Tips for getting to know your community: Navigating the relationships with the community ties back in to being adaptable. Being understanding, eager to learn, and humble takes you a long way in working through any language barrier or past history.
- Tips for training: The best tip I can give is to workout with the other athletes. They may not be your teammates or know exactly what you are doing but each sport has such cool skills that they bring to the table–it’s too much fun to miss!