CMU-Q students pay it forward in Vietnam

August 30, 2017

Carnegie Mellon students have many opportunities to travel abroad on chaperoned service learning trips. During these 1-2 week immersive projects, students travel to a new country, engage with the local culture through their service project and explore the country. Students are selected through an application process.

Cyrine Darwish, a Junior in Business Administration, talks with CMU-Q News about her recent service trip to Vietnam.

Q: What was the most valuable lesson you learned throughout your experiences in Vietnam?

A: We built two houses for two families in Vietnam in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. We learned a lot from spending five days on the construction site, including, you should never take people for granted. I remember it was the last day on the construction site, we had our farewell lunch and we were packing up to go. There was a little boy called “Yum” who would come every day to spend some time with us and learn some English. When he saw us leaving, he burst in tears. We never realized the impact we had on those people until that day. We didn’t communicate through spoken language – it was all about signs, and yet they made sure we felt loved and welcome.

Q: How has this service trip impacted your life as a student here at CMU-Q? 

A: It taught me to care more about others. We worked closely as a team and we learned how to best work with each other. This can be applied in how we experience things and learn to problem-solve at CMU-Q. We strive to finish our projects and assignments because of the sense of relief and satisfaction that it gives us.

Q: What advice would you give a student who is thinking about participating in a service trip?

A: Students typically can apply to attend a service learning trip from freshmen year. When you think about participating in a service learning trip, you need to have two qualities; tenacity and perseverance. You need to be serious and committed enough about the cause you are taking part in. You need to put your heart in the project, which will would help you absorb as much as you can from such experience, it will be tough but very rewarding!

Q: How do service trips compliment the student experience at CMU-Q?

A: Apart from the fact that we learn so much from such experiences, it’s about paying it forward. We are very fortunate here at CMU-Q to have these opportunities that contribute to others and help us grow as individuals.  Our role is to ensure that we can take what we learn and leverage it to benefit the world

Learn more about CMU-Q’s student service learning trips