Crystal Gotay spent the summer after her Junior year in Tecpán, Guatemala teaching English to a classroom of excited students. She had never left home on her own, and she had definitely never created a lesson plan.

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The below quotes and images are from her 4-week trip with Cross-Cultural Solutions, one of the Broughton Travel Fellowship's travel partners. The quotes are excerpts from the journal that all Fellows keep throughout their experience.

So I finally landed and for one the air here is different, it’s fresh, I wish I could bottle it up and take some back home once I leave.
— Crystal, June 14
Today I came face to face with the fact that no matter how independent I believe myself to be, I was still wearing training wheels because I hadn’t ever actually been far from anything familiar.
— Crystal, June 15
Not being glued to my phone makes it easier to break communication barriers and makes it easier to live in the present that is tactile, not the present that is virtual.
— Crystal, June 16
Note to self: For anyone in the future that plans on traveling and being part of an unknown group, try your best not to be shy in putting yourself out there; it will be awkward at first but in the long run it will be best to just open up.
— Crystal, June 17
Today, I, Crystal Gotay sang the National Anthem of the United States of America to a class of 3rd grade Guatemalan children.
— Crystal, June 18
I’m beginning to unfold as a person and not being so timid about showing that I have a good heart.
— Crystal, June 20
We’re going to the lake Atitlan tomorrow so my excitement is bubbling over!
— Crystal, June 20
We went to a ceramic shop where everything is handmade and the kids and women come up to sell you stuff. Learned how to both bargain and say no.
— Crystal, June 21
I see now that I am indeed a strong person, however I am also weak. Accepting that about myself is probably one big move into a bright future.
— Crystal, June 22
Funny how when you’re surrounded by loved ones and you’re trying to figure out who you are, you become more confused, but when you’re alone with people you barely know, you come to terms with yourself and begin to learn more. I know I’m learning so much more than I ever did being back home.
— Crystal, June 22
Something about being in another country sort of amplifies what you already know about yourself, even the things you don’t like and for me personally, it’s given no choice but to accept it.
— Crystal, June 27
Being here and learning from the kids and getting to know these girls these last two weeks has made me feel more secure in my own skin. Crazy how much things can change in just two weeks.
— Crystal, June 27
Looks like something you’d see in the Great Gatsby on the side that had all the old money West Egg? or was it East Egg? I don’t know, all I know is that Guatemala City and Tecpán are virtually different worlds and vastly different cultures.
— Crystal, June 28
Today I said goodbye to my kids whom I will miss dearly. I am afraid I cannot write much tonight because as I am writing tears are welling up in my eyes... I guess sometimes you touch a person’s heart without ever realizing it. Kindness really is one heck of a weapon. People say knowledge is power, well kindness is knowledge’s father.
— Crystal, July 9
I did so many things and experienced and learned so much that I cannot possibly begin to put them all into words, from learning about the art, the people, the lifestyle, agriculture, farming, industrialization, bargaining, how to say no and everything else that Tecpán and the surrounding areas had to offer. The whole experience was hard to put into words and though I learned things about myself each day, they did not fully sink in until the end when everything was over.
— Crystal, reflections after the trip