Growing up in the United States is a very privileged opportunity that I was able to obtain thanks to my parents’ hard work and dedication. However, while trying to adjust to a new culture, I was losing my connection to my Filipino culture gradually. Due to this fact, I have chosen a mission trip that would help me get back in touch with something that really defines me as a person.
Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network is a national Filipino youth and student led relief network that was built in response to Typhoon Haiyan, which, as one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastated parts of Southeast Asia. One of the areas that took a large portion of damage was the Philippines. This group is launching their third annual mission trip from June 30th to July 26th this summer. In this mission trip, the selected participants’ purpose is “to continue building with our kababayans (countrymen) back home to fight against climate change and its root causes in the Philippines and serve the communities of typhoon survivors and indigenous people.” They will travel to the affected areas and attempt to increase the inhabitants’ poor quality of life, which will help them experience the Filipino culture.
The application requirements are informal in comparison to the other internships I have researched. The first part of the application asks for basic information such as my name, phone number, email, address, and organization/ school. The next part are the questions, which asked me to write a blurb about myself and what my reason was for applying. The third part asked about any health concerns that I had. The applications are reviewed during the months of February and March. If selected, representatives will contact the applicants for an interview. Those who passed the interview will be notified by the end of March. If selected, the next following months will be for preparation. For example, the participants will have to attend mandatory retreats. There are no academic requirements or credentials.
This mission trip has many strengths. As stated prior, this will help me connect to my Filipino culture. Despite being in many Filipino groups in the United States, I have felt that I need to be in the Philippines to truly understand my culture. I have visited the Philippines twice since I moved to the United States and during those visits, I have felt as if I reconnected to my culture. However, my last visit was six years ago and due to financial constraints, there is no way I can go back in the near future with my family, but this trip pays for basic necessities such as housing, food, and transportation. Therefore, it may be cheaper than a regular vacation. Additionally, this will help me with my career. I want to travel the world as a surgeon and provide my services to those in need. This can help me decide if I really am interested in this line of work or not and give me firsthand experience.
The weaknesses of this trip are mainly due to money. This trip costs $500, which covers housing, food, and transportation. However, this does not cover airfare. Tickets during this time can go up to $2000 for one person. Additionally, I would need to be provided extra money for emergencies and other things. Due to this, the costs may increase to $3000+. I do not have a job so I’m planning to work this semester and in the summer to try to obtain that money. My parents may also have to provide a huge majority of the funds. Due to the costs, my parents are very hesitant in allowing me to go. Another weakness would be the long duration of this trip. I will have to cancel any plans I have for that month and miss any events that will occur during that time.
Some information was withheld from the application. The specific locations and travel times were not included. Due to this, the actual events or volunteering services are unknown as well. However, I feel as if they withheld this information because the information would only be relevant to those who are to be selected.