Trip Scholarship Provides a Life-Changing Experience in Panama

I was so nervous to even sign up for this trip. I didn’t know anyone else who was going, I had never been out of the country, I am a very anxious person and I had no idea how I was going to come up with the money. Now that I have gone through this experience, I have no way to truly express how incredibly grateful I am for this scholarship that allowed me to participate. Thank you for giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you for giving me a group of people who turned from almost strangers to lifelong friends. Thank you for giving me a reason to tear up every time I think of Panama, or look at pictures from our trip.

This trip was absolutely perfect in every way. The group of students and chaperones worked together, and relaxed together with amazing chemistry and we were always laughing together. We formed such close bonds with the community members and the only low of this trip was having to say goodbye. We got back only two weeks ago, and I’ve already been in contact with several people back in Los Coralillos.

During the inauguration of the court, they spoke of how blessed they felt to receive the court, how much of an impact we made on their lives and how much they would miss us. What I don’t think they realized is how much of an impact they made on our lives. They are such truly genuine people and that was the most shocking difference between our cultures. They focus on relationships, not social media, or how people look. The people of Los Coralillos will always be in my heart, even if they are not always on my mind.

When life gets stressful, I hope I can think of this trip and adopt the Panama mindset. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go on this life-changing trip, I am infinitely grateful.


McKenna Sims