Coming back from Junior Year Abroad (JYA)

They say studying abroad changes you, and for me it did. I studied Graphic Design at DIS Copenhagen, found a whole other side of my family living on an Island off the Coast of Italy, and had three near-death experiences in Airbnb homes. However, the one constant in my life remained my love and admiration for the work and people of the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP).

When I returned from abroad I was welcomed with open arms back into the project.  While I hoped to cut back this semester to focus on my school work, I still ended roped back in with more tasks than I committed to last year, and yet, I couldn't be happier. You see, while VHP takes up way too much time than it needs to and sometimes you spend hours on small tasks like emailing, letter stuffing, and stretching paintings, the love, support, and work VHP does is always more than enough to be a motivating force, especially if you go to Haiti.

Not only is VHP what I consider to be my family on campus, complete with my sub mom and dad, Lila and Andrew Meade, but it also does an incredible amount of work in conjunction with our partners in Haiti. While I was only gone for 4 months, in that time we established a creole language course at Vassar and have plans to soon implement another course on “Revisualizing Haiti.” We also have raised $40,000 of the needed $100,000+ of our Solar Powered Lab. We are working to develop a breakfast program and adult education and have just finished our first ever donors trip to Haiti. Also, the community center/church we were building has a roof now. Four months later and already so much has changed.

VHP always has and always will continue to be a large part of my life and I cannot wait to see it continue to grow and develop.

by Grace Roebuck ‘21