Studying Abroad in Santiago Atitlan

Hi everyone! My name is Grace Pittman and I am studying abroad in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala through North Carolina State University’s social work department. Even though I am on this trip with the social work department, I am not a social work major. I am majoring in communication with a focus in public relations and minoring in psychology. As part of my study abroad experience I am working at La Puerta Abierta. The NC State program has placed students at La Puerta Abierta for the past 7 summers, and I have been in the school for  five weeks and will complete my service at the center in mid July.

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Some of my responsibilities at La Puerta Abierta include helping teach the kids English, going into the community with the traveling library, and helping with donor relations as well as updating this blog. I have enjoyed every moment I have spent at La Puerta Abierta; having the opportunity to be surrounded by and to help children  has been the experience of a lifetime. I also feel blessed to be able to work alongside creative and caring souls like our teachers and our director, Amanda.

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I have had such an amazing experience not only at La Puerta Abierta, but also in our community of Santiago. I am staying with a host family in town and they have been  open and welcoming to me. When I was sick, my host mom made me lots of tea and soup and she was one of the best nurses I have ever had (besides my real mom, of course). While in Santiago I have had the opportunity to kayak on the enchanting Lake Atitlan, go on a boat tour, hike, and this weekend I am going ziplining in the Nature Reserve! I am so thankful for the opportunity to study in a beautiful place and work and live alongside the colorful people of Santiago!

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