Diana Cardona is a Human Development and Family Sciences Major at Oregon State. She recently completed her internship with the Community Center in Argentina through IE3 Global Internships during the Summer 2012 term.

Although there were ups and downs, my experiences in Argentina have tremendously impacted my life. I have made personal and professional growth in the Engranajes association. I made many new bonds and felt like I left friends and family behind when returning home. I left with Argentina in my heart. My internship was an unforgettable experience and I am able to carry the lessons from my travels into my daily life.

Argentina is a country full of wealth. They are rich in art, and when I say art, I mean many things: art is found in their paintings, music, poems, writing, conversations, and politics. I am very happy that Argentina preserves their culture, traditions, and values. So many things I did in this country revolved around politics and I am glad I was able to see how important politics are in our lives. I have become more familiar with the political system and I want my voice to be heard. I know it is important to stand up for others and to especially speak out for children in difficult situations.

I learned that music allows us to fly, play, and grow, but more importantly it lets us be different from one another.  In learning this, I decided to share some of my Mexican and American culture with Argentina. I learned that we are more similar than I previously thought. I learned that family is not only made up of people with whom we share DNA, but also those friends that you choose to trust. I especially felt this way about the family that shared with me their space, love, and culture. They opened my eyes to the value of living simply and respecting what you have. My conscience over politics and culture grew enormously.

The experiences with the children from the barrios taught me that children are pure joy, our future, and our present. It is important to stand up for them. I noticed that our presence made a difference in their lives. I realize that we are very privileged to live in North America and we are a country filled with opportunities. I changed my way of thinking. I opened my eyes to see that the most important thing in life is love. My family has now grown to include Argentina, Mexico and the United States.

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