Hey, my name is Natalia and I am a 3rd year Social Work student. I initially got into Psychology because I have always wanted to help people; however I soon realized that I would be able to make more of an impact if I went into social work. Since I have no idea what area of social work I would like to go into, I am very open to new experiences. I love to travel, I have been to parts of Eastern Europe and Russia (I was born in Latvia and moved here when I was 11). My only glimpse at the United States so far has been Las Vegas. I love food, summer, music and going to concerts, learning new things, animals (I have 2 cats), movies, books, dancing, and going on adventures.

I have heard about New Orleans, and hurricane Katrina, but I had no idea how much more there is to the story.  I feel sad and angry about the whole ordeal and would really like to help out. Just last night I had a conversation with someone misinformed about the events surrounding hurricane Katrina. I and a friend tried to inform the person best as we could, but it just made me realize that there is not much awareness about what happened during and after Katrina. There are people in our society who do not know that homelessness exists, and that it is a huge crisis. I think raising awareness is an integral part of changing the world and the way people view homelessness, amongst other issues.

From hearing about the other students’ experiences of the trip, and how uplifting it turned out, I am very excited to go! I have been thinking about volunteering in a place like Mexico or Africa, but was not sure how to approach it. I think going to New Orleans will be a life-changing experience and will give me a sense of direction!