International Students Making a Difference
Improving the world one small step at a time. That's the goal of SUNY Broome's SEED program. Scholarship for Education and Economic Development teaches students how to improve their communities when they return to their homelands. Emily Lorsch has more on some of the initiatives.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y.-- "When you go to another country, the biggest fear that you have is, 'how am I going to be understood?"said Juan Loaisiga, an international student.
That's why this student wants to start an education project in his home country of Nicaragua. It's part of his community action plan for SEED. Loaisiga said teaching more people English to increase tourism will help the area prosper. "Through education we're going to be empowering people, important people, to construct a better economy," Loaisiga said.
Another student participating in the SEED program is hoping to meet a basic need. Based on drinking water conditions in Haiti, she immediately knew what her project would be.
"I want to help my community and I will find help for people in my community because they want it. Before I came here they were complaining about the water. This is why I want to help them back," said Ketia Hely.
The first step of her project is to educate people on how to purify their water. Then, she hopes to find a more permanent solution. "Something more stable so that they can just go somewhere and find clean and pure water to drink," added Hely.
At SUNY Broome's leadership conference on Monday these students and many others shared plans for their communities. The goal is to get feedback and make improvements. Organizers said it's beneficial for everyone.
"It's a win-win situation not only for the students but also for the government because they are helping the communities in Central America and the Caribbean but at the same time they are bringing a lot of internationalization to the education here in Binghamton," said SEED Coordinator Claudia Beebe.
Fulfilling an opportunity to improve the lives of people here in the Southern Tier, and across borders.
Besides Haiti and Nicaragua, students are from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. After they graduate at SUNY Broome, they will head back to their communities to implement their action plans.