“The fly-in is the best part of graduate school,” they said.
“It’ll prepare you for a career in iMedia,” they said.
“It’ll change your perspective on life,” they said.
Well, as it turns out, “they” might actually be right.
We didn’t really know what to expect when we landed in Guatemala City. Maybe I’m speaking for myself—this being my first experience in a foreign country—but there seemed to be a sense of reluctance and confusion surrounding all of us, because everything was just so…different.
Minus Tira, we didn’t have a good grasp on the language, and the constant blank stares coming from people outside the crowded airport was uncomfortable to say the least. Needless to say, no amount of wireframing or research before the trip could prepare us for what we’d experience once we got here.
Fortunately, that all changed for me as I gazed out the bus window, admiring the beautiful, green, rolling hills and foggy mountains. It felt like the project would come together perfectly if we could just capture the beauty of this green earth, or, Tierra Verde.
This must be what inspired Marco—the founder of Tierra Verde—to create the organization, and I felt like it was inspiring me as well.
I was exhausted from the redeye flight in, but I didn’t sleep at all on our way to Xela. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the landscape in front of me, and I couldn’t help but notice my classmates doing the same; they must have been just as excited as me to take in everything Guatemala had to offer.
We finally arrived at our hostel. It was somewhat of a bubble, where a small door—reminiscent of the Inn at the Prancing Pony—contained us and a group of other westerners from the bustling Xela streets. It was a safe haven owned by an American, allowing us gradually transition to this new country.
Our translator then took us to dinner, where the slowed-down covers of Gun N’ Roses offered some more familiarity amongst the overwhelming culture shock.
“We have something in common with the people here, right?” I thought to myself.
The first day in Guatemala was exciting, scary, and inspiring at the same time. Who knows what the rest of the week will hold, but I know I speak for everyone when I say I can’t wait to get started.