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Elizabeth Schmidt

Liz is passionate about exploring culture and language and using them to build connections between people. Liz has been involved in speech, debate, performing arts, and the Girl Scouts. Her goals for participating in Global Citizen Year are to be immersed in another culture, become proficient in French and any local dialects she encounters, build relationships with her host, meaningfully help her community, and generally develop her understanding of the world so as to discover how she can play a role in shaping it for the better. She is inspired by the way people can come together to form creative, constructive solutions to challenges and simultaneously build up one another.


A Year of Attaya (Tea)

May 29, 2015

The first time I tasted attaya I couldn’t finish it. My host brother in Dakar had made it, and even a sip out of the small shot glass was almost overpoweringly bitter and sweet. The first time I finished a glass of attaya was in the house of the woman who is like my father’s...

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A Society of Women

May 17, 2015

I approached my community in Joal knowing that I would be faced with gender roles that I didn’t agree with, and I told myself that I would need to stay open minded and respect the culture in place. That’s easier said than done. I found that I could respect people’s way of life, but I...

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April 30, 2015

The first time I saw Falou was on the wrapper of a candy that my father pulled out of his pocket the first day in my home stay, pointing to the picture and saying, This man is a national champion in wrestling and he lives in our town.”

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Yallah Bakh Na

April 20, 2015

Since I was about 10, I have been uneasy with calling myself a religious believer because I couldn’t believe that people could be all evil; surely everyone has at least one small beautiful spot in their hearts, and because I grew up with the idea that people always do the best they know how. Therefore...

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Tis the Season to be a Good Muslim, Christian, or Whatever You Are

January 31, 2015

The following is a run-down of the holidays I have so far witnessed in my time here. Tabaski Tabaski is a Muslim holiday, which the Senegalese celebrate with enthusiasm.It is the day of forgiveness; each family kills a goat or sheep and friends, family, and neighbors go out to greet each other with an exchange...

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Our Community

January 7, 2015

The other day I ran into a guy who I had briefly seen twice before, once in the first week of my homestay, and again about a month ago. He is a student at the University of Dakar, but he spends his vacations in Joal, his hometown. This time when I saw him, he told...

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In Dependence

December 12, 2014

The following is an excerpt from my college essay, finalized on October 30th: “When I arrived, I could barely speak, and I still cannot cook or tie my wrap-skirt without help. Nothing has been harder than loneliness and helplessness as I struggle to communicate in French or Wolof or when my mom’s friends laugh after...

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December 2, 2014

I have now been in country for two months and I have made the switch to my final host stay. Although I am going to miss my family in Dakar, I definitely feel like I left off in the best possible way. My two older brother had become some of my best friends, my uncles...

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Learning to Drink Coffee

September 11, 2014

It has been a week since I moved in with my Dakar host family. I came home Sunday afternoon to a room full of suitcases, soon to be packed and sent off to France with half of the family. When my grandmother first brought me home, most of the adults were preoccupied with packing so...

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