Raquel Farris

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Duquesne University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Raquel Farris spent the first month of her summer in Tanzania, a country located in east Africa, learning about the African culture.  She was able to immerse herself within the African culture by studying the native Swahili language and the history of the Masai tribal community. She was able to practice her Swahili by going to local markets and speaking with the natives in order to buy her souvenirs and food. Along with going to numerous local museums and history centers to learn more about the historic lands of Tanzania. While staying with her host mother in the city of Arusha, she was able to learn about the native foods, culture, and traditions of the Tanzanian people, along with taking day trips to go outside of the city to the tribal lands to interact with the Masai tribes. In Arusha, Raquel spent much of her time visiting non-profit organizations to gain greater insight on how to bring awareness to these foundations when returning home. She also discovered how the Tanzanian community builds a strong bond with one another in order to help those in need. Raquel also arranged trips to travel throughout the country of Tanzania. She went on a five day safari excursion where she learned about poaching, the environment, and the beautiful animals that make Tanzania unique. She also took a day trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. During her time abroad, Raquel met life changing people and became inspired to educate people at home about her experiences.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: From Prague to Pittsburgh: Human Trafficking Around the Globe

Our CEE, “Human Trafficking Around the Globe” was an open discussion based project. To present our information about human trafficking, we created a Powerpoint presentation. Within the Powerpoint, the countries in which each of us visited as Vira. I Heinz awardees were discussed including: the Czech Republic, Tanzania, and Spain.  Each of these were compared to the United States. Our information about each individual country that the team members visited consisted of subtopics discussing the causes and relevance of human trafficking, the countries’ rankings on the Tier watch list, and what can be done to prevent and stop this from occurring globally and locally. We included clips from the movie “Not My Life” displaying examples of human trafficking within our countries or in countries within close proximity. At the end of the Powerpoint presentation, we had an open discussion with the audience and provided volunteer opportunities at local human trafficking shelters. This CEE was a fulfilling experience that not only actively contributed to my leadership skills but helped me gain a greater perspective about myself. It allowed me to work together in a team environment with other passionate women leaders. Without our experiences abroad we would not have had the confidence to perform the CEE and the motivation to encourage others to end human trafficking. I am forever thankful to the Vira I. Heinz endowment program for providing me with leadership opportunities, and shaping me into the woman that I am today. Without my travel abroad experiences, I would view the world from a closed minded perspective. Now, I am a driven individual inspired to encourage others to create change.