Matthew Travers

Ever since spending a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Ecuador, Matthew has found interest in learning about other cultures and foreign languages, which he is excited to continue with GCY. He has also committed a year of full-time service to the community of the South Bronx in New York as a City Year Corps Member, where he served as a mentor to elementary school students. He recognizes the importance of addressing social injustices through public service. He enjoys volleyball, singing, and trying new foods.



When I woke up in Dindefello, a quaint village littered with tourists in Kedougou, I felt for the first time since my arrival I was living the “authentic African experience” foreigners seek when they come to this country. A hut over my head and a digital camera full of pictures of wildlife and women with…

23 April, 2013

Old Enough to Change the World, Young Enough to Still Want To

There are nights where I wake up in a lukewarm sweat, still saturated with the dream that doesn’t let me sleep. In this nocturnal vision, I am back at home in my room, or somewhere in San Jose, California, and I am looking for a way to charge credit on my Senegalese phone to make…

23 April, 2013

In The Tomato Field

My greatest insights are revealed to me in the tomato field. Knee to chest, hands to ground, root to soil, I spend my mornings alongside what I confidently call my friends, sixteen Senegalese seeds themselves that, through struggle and effort, now bear the fruits of laughter and companionship. Together we plant row after row of…

23 April, 2013

The Toubab Dilemna

Words here in Senegal are a valuable commodity. The wisest people string the neatest webs of words, and a new word learned in Wolof is a new tool to use. However, since the beginning of my time here, one word in particular has followed me wherever I go: Toubab. As you walk down the road…

23 April, 2013

City Boy

After living in New York City for a year, commotion has grown to be the norm for me. I thrive in the chaos, the shoulder-to-shoulder metropolitan density. My hometown of San Jose is a modestly urban city as well, which has led me to naturally gravitate towards a lifestyle full of traffic and Starbucks coffee shops…

09 January, 2013

A Glimpse Into Sandiara

I decided to make a video in order to better depict my site and apprenticeship. I currently live in Sandiara at my site, Centre de Formation et de Reinsertion Agricole de Sandiara (Agricultural Training and Reinsertion Center of Sandiara).CFRAS is an example of effective foreign aid, which is helping people better their lives to allow them to sustain themselves. In…

03 January, 2013

I Am Because You Are

When I graduated from high school, I decided to move from California to New York City. There, I served as a mentor with City Year, a non-profit that works in inner-city schools. It was through this organization that I learned of the concept Ubuntu. This African philosophy is based on the belief that everyone is…

10 July, 2012

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Matthew Travers