Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive, 6-week
‘Exk’ola’ if I remember correctly, is the Mayan Tz’utujil way of saying Hello in a plural manner.
Hello there! ¡ Hola! Exk’ola! My name is Brandon Ipina and I live in Houston, Texas. I am currently a senior in high school and am passionate about international and environmental studies. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to take a trip to Guatemala to learn more about the grassroots movements of the country with Dragons this past summer which pushed me also to learn more about my values in life and who I want to be growing up. I take pride in my conviction to a life of leadership and service and thus, I’ll do my best to show the beauty which is a Dragons trip to prospective students by being an Alumni Ambassador. I am a hopeful for the future and am excited to see what life has in hold for me. In my free time, I enjoy running, writing, and connecting with people.
If I had a year to burn, I would…
I would spend the year meeting people and seeing the world. I know for a fact I would first go to Guatemala again and then go see my close friends from my Dragons trip to catch up with all of them. I also have always thought it would be neat to experience the famous Che Guevara motorcycle journey so I would do that too. I will then probably finish my year with a longboarding trip throughout Japan. I would journal, take many photos, and hopefully helped someone somehow every day in my travels.
Something I would like to tell prospective students…
Do it, let loose, be different, try something new! I wholeheartedly believe that individuals grow the most outside of their comfort zone; saying this, it is normal to be nervous, to be terrified, and to be excited for such an experience. I was there, and was also there questioning myself if I can really feel comfortable in a country in where people near me are apprehensive to go and be okay around a group of strangers who are different to me, and I promise you that’s how everyone feels too. I struggled and challenged myself in every moment I could, and my perspective on the world has changed because of it. Enjoy the experience, be patient with yourself and others, and reflect. Dragons believes in being mindful in your actions and thus I urge you to engage yourself in your curiosity as much as you can. I will end by saying that this experience has shaped me into a person that is more since and authentic and that my memories and friends from this trip I look back fondly.
My next Big project is…
Applying and getting into college. It feels surreal to know that in less than a year, I will be in college, and frankly, I’m a bit scared. But that’s okay! I know I’ll do great and that this is the next stage in my life in where I will also push myself to a direction that I’m happy to be in. I’m currently looking for a college that will help me see more of the world.