At the end of January last year, instead of making the usual drive back to Ithaca to begin a new semester at college, Lewis Kendall ’14 packed his bags and hopped on a plane to South America.
After hearing stories from many of his friends about studying abroad, he decided to pursue one of his greatest passions outside of writing: environmentalism. He contacted a volunteer organization called UBELONG that works with a local organization named Jatun Sacha, which funneled him into a volunteer position in Ecuador.
Kendall spent more than three months at three separate biological reserves around Ecuador. As a volunteer, he helped maintain a garden that housed many extinct or endangered species of plants, preserving them for future generations.
“I was numbed by the fatigue of working long hours, but I began to feel a clarity in my mind and body that I had never experienced before,” he said. “With the differences in language, culture, and place, I was so far outside my comfortable norms that I was forced to leave my old self behind and start anew.”
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