Lindsey O'Neill

Alumni Ambassador
Photo of Lindsey O'Neill
Guatemala: Spanish Langauge Intensive
Marietta, GA

Hola a todos! My name is Lindsey O’Neill and I have lived in Marietta, Georgia (a suburb just outside of Atlanta) my entire life. Currently, I am in my last year of high school at the North Cobb School for International Studies. Although I love the feeling of home and comfort I find in my hometown, for as long as I can remember I have felt drawn towards new places. This calling to seek out closely coincides with my passions, including my desire to attain a different perspective and through new experiences gain a deeper understanding of myself. This past summer I had the incredible opportunity to travel with Dragons throughout the stunning country of Guatemala, or as many suitably call it, GuateMAYA. During the month I spent traversing this beautifully complex land with thirteen incredible individuals, I found myself overwhelmed with a feeling of admiration for the resistance, perseverance, and most of all compassion I witnessed on part of the people I met. The knowledge and sense of understanding I discovered during this short time are two things I believe only a program like Dragons can provide. Thus said, I hope to share such an experience with all others who find themselves wanderlust.

Reasons to love Guatemala…

I could easily write a never-ending essay explaining why I have such a profound admiration for Guatemala. In short, it is the people that inhabit this beautiful land that I believe make it so incredible. The love I was shown in Guatemala is the kind that I think could repair nations, and indeed in the case of this country it has. The insight that the Mayan Culture possesses surrounding nature and the intended relationship between beings is priceless.

I seek the unknown to…

Understand an existence beyond myself. I have found it very easy to enter a state of oblivion regarding the surrounding world and the lives it harbors. As I flip through one of the many journals I wrote in during my month in Guate, I am in a state of disbelief. I cannot believe how much I learned, even less can I believe how little of this knowledge was acquired in a traditional classroom setting. Only through stepping outside of my comfort zone and opening my heart to touch and be touched by those of others can I attempt to abandon my ignorance. I believe humans as individuals possess bountiful experiences and stories which ought to be shared. These testimonies are irreplaceable lessons in my opinion because they cannot be read in a textbook or found online; this method of learning demands the invaluable art of human interaction.

Something I would like to tell a prospective Dragons student…

Listen to your heart. Over this past year I have come to understand just how powerful the human heart is; it guides us. Had I not listened to my heart last May I would not be writing to you and I would likely still feel a sense of longing. Traveling with Dragons signifies much more than sight-seeing. Dragons provides you with the gift of a new perspective which translates into an overall greater understanding of not only yourself but other identities as well. As a result, I urge you to respond to your calling and try to seek out all opportunities that come your way. I would like to leave you with a simple, but significant saying that one of my instructors often said to our group: “La vida es loca y todo puede pasar.” That is, life is crazy, and anything can happen, so please do not mute the voice inside you and instead embark on a journey that connects you to a world beyond the one you now know.