Charity in front of a church.

If I could do this all over again, I would!

Charity Frederick

  • Student
Curriculum and Instruction | Study Abroad
Charity in front of a church.
Related Department
Curriculum and Instruction
Study Abroad

Charity Frederick participated in the 2022 Study Abroad trip to Mexico.

A Conversation with Charity Frederick

Why did you choose this program?

There are several reasons I chose this study abroad trip. As soon as I received the email, I jumped on getting my passport so I could go. I have always wanted to go outside the U.S. to explore cultures other than my own, but I’ve never had an opportunity like this one. Another reason I wanted to go on this trip was to give back. I knew if I went on this trip, I would be able to give students in Mexico a fantastic opportunity to learn. They learned kinesthetically, which isn't the norm for them. One more reason I chose this trip was that I knew it would give me an experience that would change my life, and it did.

What surprised you the most about your experience?

I was surprised by how life-changing the teaching experience ended up being. I knew it would have a significant impact on me, but I didn't expect the desire to stay there. I enjoyed instructing the students so much that I could have stayed a month longer to pour into them. I didn't expect to love Mexico as much as I did or to fall in love with the culture the way I did. If I weren't married with children, I could see myself staying. If given the chance, I would go back in a heartbeat.

As an American who has never been outside my native country, this was very eye opening for me! I never expected it to be that overwhelming. After the first day, I was overwhelmed and just wanted to let the bilingual people teach. However, I knew that wasn't the answer. As the week passed, I learned to communicate in other ways, such as pointing, smiling, hugging, or over animation. I know the kids may not have fully understood everything until it was translated, but I feel assured that they knew I was putting effort into it. Teaching may be tough at times, and getting through to certain students may seem overwhelming to the point of quitting, but I won't let challenges like this defeat me. I will use my experience to motivate me to learn new ways of inspiring or getting through to my students!

What was your favorite part of your time overseas?

My favorite part of being overseas was getting to explore another culture with my friends. From the time we arrived in Mexico, it was a blast. While there, I made friendships and created bonds with people that I know are going to last a lifetime. There was one day where we had to complete a scavenger hunt with little-to-no direction, and that was tough! However, having the three friends I had with me helped. We pulled together and used each other's ideas and creativity to find everything we needed. Those kinds of experiences can't be found just anywhere or with merely anyone. I talk with my friends weekly still and we would all love to go back if we are able.

How do you intend to use this experience in the future?

Everything I experienced during this trip will help me in the future. One overly critical experience that shaped my views and will help me in my future career as an educator was how quickly we had to adjust and learn to differentiate during our lessons. This wasn't just once a day or once all week; we were constantly adjusting due to the wide range of student ages and content knowledge in our groups. That kind of experience isn't what we usually get because classes here are separated based on age and where a student stands academically. Another thing that had a significant impact and will affect my teaching in the future was dealing with a language barrier. Here in America, students from other countries who speak little or no English can have a tough time understanding others.

What is your advice for students who want to study abroad through this program in the future?

Do it! Mexico was the only study abroad trip I've been on, but I have no doubt that other trips would be just as life-changing! While there, you're going to be challenged, learn a lot, experience the culture, make new friendships, impact the lives of many children, and ultimately come home a different person. Do whatever is necessary to raise the money to go. This experience changes you, and you also get to change the lives of children who don't have as much as we do here in the U.S. On our last day of teaching, we came together and bought all the children ice cream cones. It was very inexpensive for us, and the children LOVED it. That is probably something they will remember forever. They kept some of the projects we completed in science, so I know they will remember that as well. If I could do this all over again, I would! If you don't go, I know you will regret it. If you go, it will forever change you!

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