Poudre High School student, Liana Price-Foster, was awarded a scholarship for a 10-day trip in Central America on May 8, 2016. Liana’s scholarship includes airfare and program costs. The trip will take place in early August 2016 to Guatemala and is sponsored by An admiration, Walking Tree Travel, and the City of Fort Collins.
The scholarship committee was moved and impressed by Liana’s story. Keep reading to learn Liana and join us in congratulating her on this accomplishment!
What do you hope to gain from this international experience?
Multiple takeaways come to mind when I think of an international experience. The first thing I would hope gain is a new, distinct sense of culture. I want to learn firsthand different customs, diverse traditions, and taste delicious Guatemalan foods. This international experience would expose me to a culture I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. The second thing I would love to gain is the ability to practice and learn more Spanish. Spanish is actually my first language, however I lost most of it when I was adopted into an English speaking household. I very recently got back in touch with my biological family after thirteen years. A lot of my relatives can only speak Spanish, so I am motivated to relearn it. This trip would provide an amazing way to strengthen my Spanish. Lastly, I hope to gain personal connections with locals. I value relationships with people of different backgrounds. This international trip has many unbelievable experiences to offer.
Does your family heritage play a role in your daily life? If so how and if not, how would you like it to?
My Latino heritage does not play an active, daily role in my life. I spoke a little this earlier; I am adopted. The first 5 years of my life I spent immersed in, Latino heritage, my family’s heritage. We all spoke Spanish, ate Mexican foods, and practiced Mexican traditions. However, living conditions at home were not good. We lived in poverty. Our apartment was way too small for the whole family. We didn’t always have food in the fridge or cupboards. My mom, two sisters, and I slept in the same bed because we couldn’t afford more, much less have the room for them anywhere. Eventually my sisters and I were put in foster care where my Spanish started to slip away from me. Later we were adopted. Our new parents were completely opposite. They were a middle class, caucasian couple. Being so young I quickly adapted to their cultural norms and forgot my own. Now that I’m older, my family enjoys exploring my Mexican heritage, but we’ve only scratched the surface. In discovering more my heritage I’ve noticed how much family is valued. Often multiple generations of family members live together causing everyone to be close-knit. I don’t have that close relationship with any of my extended family members but I wish I did. Another thing from my heritage I would absolutely love to involve in my daily life is the authentic Mexican food. Not only is Mexican food one of my favorites, but food in general is a big part of culture. As I explore more of my Latino heritage I hope to include some aspects in my daily life.
How can you use this experience to help local government better serve the local Latino community?
This experience will help me better serve the Latino community because I’ll get to describe my firsthand experience of being part of Latino culture to my local government. I believe the more authentic my experience is the better I can understand what is so unique the Latino community. Hopefully the determination of being understanding and aware will be noticed, creating a more positive environment for local Latinos. In addition, getting a taste of the true culture will help inform me and everyone else as to why immigrants move to the United States. With my new-found knowledge I can then share my discoveries with my local government in hopes that we can create an educated, welcoming, and safe atmosphere for diverse people. I find it very important to take advantage of this trip to better serve the local Latino community.
What is one way you hope to share this experience with other people your age?
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” is a famous idiom I agree with. I hope to share my experience with people my age through pictures and videos that I take. I have a genuine passion for photography and videography. I will be able to capture incredible moments and share them with others. Photos and videos are also engaging, keeping the attention of people my age. I believe this is an excellent way to share my experience to the world.
We’re incredibly excited for Liana and wish her well on her trip to Guatemala! Are you interested in taking a similar trip? Take a look at volunteer programs in Guatemala.