Hey ya’ll, can you tell that I’m already excited for New Orleans? First and foremost, a warm hello to everyone out there reading my blog. I should start by saying that this is not the first time that I have blogged but I still consider myself a bit of a “noobie” to the blogging world as it was only recently that I started my own, so here goes.
My name is Elena Cifuentes.  I am 22 and currently in my fourth year at Ryerson University majoring in Sociology. I enjoy spending any free time that I have with my family, friends, and boyfriend as I feel that maintaining a healthy balance and bonds among those of importance in one’s life is key to staying happy. Some of my hobbies include painting, singing and writing. When I found out that I was going to be a part of this class I was ecstatic and excited for a myriad of reasons but the few that come to mind include: the friendships and relationships I am going to make not only with my fellow peers and profs but with those we as a class will be working alongside and helping out while in New Orleans.
I was also thrilled when I found out I was accepted to be enrolled in a class that offered both in class and experiential hands on learning will allow me to apply the knowledge I will receive inside the classroom, being able to make sense of it while abroad. I believe the experiential component of the course will give context to what is being taught as well as provide me with a greater understanding, appreciation, and meaning to what I am learning. Lastly, I also wanted to take this course because I LOVE to travel and when I found out that part of the course took place abroad in New Orleans there was no question that I had to be apart of it. New Orleans is a place that I have always wanted to visit, so no time like the present right?
I hope to learn and gain an abundance of new skills, perspectives, insights, and ideas while on this trip. I think that I will gain a lot personally from this experience in terms of growth as a person but also knowledge, which I will in turn be able to share with others. With my flight booked and the course already under way, the countdown begins.
After hearing stories, watching videos, and seeing photos from trips friends of mine had taken to New Orleans, it only heightened my eagerness and excitement to visit what seems like such a vibrant and culturally rich place. Despite all the hardships and disasters the city and its people have had to endure and face, it sounds as though the spirit of the city is still alive. I guess this is something I will have to see for myself and I’m very fortunate and blessed that I will get the opportunity to alongside one of my best friends Natalie and fellow peers. Until next time, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Plato:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

It’s simple and to the point. Little acts of kindness can go a long way, and can make the difference in someone’s day.