SIA Europe Trip


Event Name :  Europe Trip Service Learning Project

Date: April  3rd-13th  2015

Number of Student Participants : 10

Av. Service Hr per Student: 40

Europe Trip Description:

We had an exciting service learning tour as we visited Tirana, Albania, Vienna, Austria, and Istanbul, Turkey.  Each service tour presented a unique opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of other cultures, develop new perspectives on local issues and strengthen leadership skills necessary for global citizenship.

Meaningful Service

Working side-by-side with locals, we  gained insight into the challenges they face and built lasting solutions to help empower the community. Students gave their donations, gifts to the orphanages in Tirana and interacted with age groups from three  to fourteen years old.

Cultural Immersion

Live in the communities you serve – celebrating indigenous customs and forming lasting connections with locals. Students presented American Values and valuable programs they engage in throughout the year to their overseas peers.

Leadership Development

NJASCS administrators and your field director take your service experience even further, strengthening leadership skills through activities and workshops.

By participating in this service learning tour we qualified to receive forty hours of community service credit.  Students are expected to fully participate in the service activities.

by SIA Europe  Community Service Learning Trip Members

Tomas Homola, Kidane Rachiim Rey-Edwards, Alexandra Victoria Vargas, Ken Christopher Aguilar, Danilo Rodriguez, Nihal Gecir, Harrison Dennis Edwards, Basak Gorkem, Sena Yuksel, Antoinette Rosemarie Edwards, Esra Tozan, Erdal Yilmaz.


Participant’s Reflections:

Erdal Yilmaz
Quite honestly, my passion for this year was to go visit the orphanages in Africa again since I found it very rewarding to outreach to underserved communities in African Nations. But due to health concerns we would not be able to realize this project. On the other hand I was excited to visit some of the Europe countries for the first time in my life. Cultural exploration in Albania, Austria and Turkey was impressive. Not to mention the cultural and historical value of visited sites, the hospitality of the local families and interest of the students in schools we visited was at a spoiling level. The interaction of SIA students with their local peers in the dorms was worth seeing and have turned into soccer festival till late at nights. I was anxious for the in class presentations since I was not sure about the interest of overseas students but we have been already getting many follow up emails from the visited high school students. One lesson that I learned for upcoming years is that besides giving gifts we have to design games for different age groups for the students in the orphanage. This could be an everlasting memory for them and we could be remembered each time they play the games taught.

Danilo Rodriguez
I feel like this experience was well worth it. Although I did not get to visit Albania, I got to experience the culture and see what the other two countries (Vienna/Turkey) had to offer. I never expected to meet so many amazing people and I really did appreciate everything that happened. I was even able to meet someone, in Vienna, that had very similar views that I did. It’s very satisfying knowing that another person all the way on the other side of the world thinks like I do! Other than that, I really enjoyed the culture and the experiences. Seeing how different those places were from NJ was a real eye opener and i’d love to go again! I think my favorite part of the trip was getting to visit the bazaars in Turkey. Being able to negotiate with an almost other alien person for the price of a traditional scarf was very interesting and fun! All in all, I enjoyed this trip alot and i’m glad that the students in action were able to make a difference in another country! – Danilo Rodriguez

Alex Vargas
My experience on this trip was something unexplainably amazing! Words couldn’t express how breath taking I found each of the three countries we explored. Would I recommend it to anybody next year, yes definitely! Not only is traveling to different countries good for a college resume, but the experience and all the different places, restaurants, architectures, families, and people that you see is just beautiful. If someone were to ask me which country was my favorite I wouldn’t know what to say because each country had something that made each of them so special, that i equally had fun at all three countries. It would be utterly impossible for me to choose which country was my favorite! Each country had a sparkle in its eyes, from the beautiful people we met, beautiful churches and architectures we took pictures of, and the wonderful views that each of them had. I would most certainly love to go back to each of these countries again because its an opportunity that everyone must take.

Nihal Gecir
My experience from this trip is great. Not only did we help out other people on this trip but we also learned a couple of stuff from the countries we went to. We learned a lot of historic information in both Albania and Austria. In my opinion all three countries had their own uniqueness. For example the schools in Albania were amazing. In Austria were ever you went you Saw a part of history. Last but least in turkey we the feeling of all of us together was great. If I had to go again with the same people I would. All the people on this trip were there for you when you needed them, and made you laugh when you felt down. So yea I want to thank them for the amazing feeling they gave me for these 10 days. Thanks.