“My experience [during GSE exchange programs] is that we learn to work in groups as one family all together for one reason, to help the planet.”
— Silvia Luque
“I do feel empowered regarding communities working together to promote change, mostly because of how accepting the locals were of us coming here. I always felt welcomed and immediately accepted and that as long as students from both countries were working towards a common goal, we were hardly considered different at all.”
— Lucas Rohrer
“My name is Blake Hamilton and I joined Global Student Embassy a year ago. I have since become much more engaged in my local community as well as GSE’s partner community in Ecuador. These experiences have been so important to me, especially because they have shifted my awareness and orientation towards the world and my community. My passion for environmental activism was catalyzed by Global Student Embassy, and I am now at the point where I hope to be considered an activist myself. I want to make a positive change in our world, in our future, and I believe that it is my generation’s responsibility to do so. As I continue to get out of my comfort zone, try new things, and immerse myself in the world, I’m certain that I will discover additional passions and make a difference wherever and whenever I can.
“Global Student Embassy has exposed me to so many opportunities. It has allowed me to look at life and all the situations or decisions it brings to me with a completely changed mindset. My perception of people and ideas all have become much more expansive. My personal values have evolved to a much higher level. I have become a more environmentally knowledgeable, open-minded individual. Many people say they want to lead a greener lifestyle, be involved in their community, and reach out to others – most do nothing about it. I’m proud to say that I have.”
— Blake Hamilton
“GSE has been a big part of my life for the past 2 years. Last winter I hosted a student from Ecuador named Raisa, who quickly became one of my best friends. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to visit Raisa in her home town, Bahia de Caraquez when I traveled with GSE to do reforestation work last spring. Before I took part in the reforestation project I had no idea how huge the problem of logging is in Ecuador. At our site we could hear chainsaws cutting down trees in the distance almost as fast as we were planting them. Traveling to Ecuador and taking part in such an important project helped me to see how committed I am to improving our environment.”
— Laney Sisneros
“I’ve been involved in Global Student Embassy for the past two years, and am inspired that I have the opportunity as a young person to organize and work together with other students to accomplish common goals. Global Student Embassy has been important in my development as a person, especially my sense of confidence and ability to speak up in group settings. Volunteering at the Village Park Garden has taught me gardening techniques while at the same time enabling me to help the less fortunate through the donation of nourishing food. GSE helped me realize that if I put my heart and soul into my goals, they will be achieved.”
— Noemi Reyes
“Mi experiencia en Ecuador y aqui es que aprendemo a trabayar en grupo como una sola familia todos unidos por una sola razon para ayudar al planeta. A conocer hacer heurs amigos aprender y ensenar de nuestra cultura a como vevemos y sonomos en Ecuador. Tambien porque me gustaria ser siempre. Parte de este equipo que ayuda a parte de este equipe que ayuda a como comer sano y a no esar quinicos en nuestra form a de vida.
“En Ecuador es una gran experiencia porque alla trabajo con mis amigoes y compeneros y con ninos muy peque nos a los cuales como mas grandes le damos buenos jemplos. Gracias a dios y a la organizacion que me ha dado esta gran oportunidad de estar aqui compartiendo esta nueva experiencia para mi.”
— Silvia Luque
“I was first introduced to GSE during my sophomore year at Analy after returning from my year-long stay in Ghana. The club sounded exciting, but i was intimidated by the upperclassmen who were involved, especially being new to Analy. This year I made the decision to commit to working with the GSE community and am so grateful I did. Contrary to my previous worries, the students in GSE are some of the most friendly and accepting people I know. From working in the garden on Wednesdays, to taking trips to the Jenner headlands on some Saturdays, to the big Ecuador trip during spring break, GSE has been a fantastic way for me to help the environment, get involved in my community, and meet wonderful people.
“Another important aspect of GSE for me is its international involvement. Not only can one be involved in the local community, but students also have to opportunity to travel to another country and learn about their culture. I am very excited to go to Ecuador in the spring, practice my Spanish, plant trees, and go swimming in the ocean. I urge all students and members of the community to get involved with GSE and create a positive impact and help the environment, both in Sebastopol and around the world.”
— Sarah Diamond
“Throughout the first semester of my junior year at Analy High School I’ve had the privilege to make a direct and meaningful impact on our community here in Sonoma County. Working with Global Student Embassy, I have helped to maintain the Village Park Garden that grows organic produce for local people in need. This spring, a group of my classmates and I will have the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge we’ve gained in a school garden project in Ecuador. In addition to building a garden with local high school students in Bahia de Caraquez, we will also work together on reforestation project at ‘La Punta Gorda’ preserve.
“I love speaking Spanish and after five years of study, I’m excited to practice my language skills with young people in Latin America. What inspires me most is knowing that the simple act of planting a tree can dramatically improve the environment for future generations.”
— Aili Osteraas-Constable