My name is Jenna and I am a theater volunteer in the Galapagos Islands with Performing Arts Abroad.
One thing you hear a lot in the Galapagos is “island time”. This usually refers to the notion, that when someone says they will meet you at 1:30you should expect them closer to 2:00. While this can be frustrating it actually has a really good message. For me “island time” became a reminder to go with the flow and to not take yourself too seriously.
I landed in San Cristobal knowing absolutely no Spanish and ready to help in anyway possible. Originally I thought I would be teaching a theater class, but once there it seemed there was more of a need for volunteers to teach English. So, determined to combine the two, I decided one of the best ways to learn new words and remember them was through art. For two weeks I spent my mornings learning as much Spanish as I could and every afternoon I taught 45 students using theater games and art projects. Things are very laid back in the islands so I could really develop my lesson plans any way I wanted to.
Taking the idea of “island time” to heart, I also did a lot of amazing activities I never thought I would do. We hiked mountains, climbed volcanoes, and snorkeled in coral reefs. The beauty of San Cristobal is beyond compare. Once you step back and allow yourself to be open to new experiences you see truly amazing things.
While all of these adventures were fun the best part of this experience was working with the kids and the other volunteers. We became a family that shared each other’s frustrations and victories. To have students start out not really wanting to learn and with in a week seeing the same students come to class early and ask to sing the counting song, and bouncing out of their seats to tell you the vocabulary word and write it on the board, made me so incredibly proud of them! Absolutely an amazing experience!
Written by Jenna Snyder, Performing Arts Abroad theater volunteer in the Galapagos Islands.