Minerva Fellow Interview: Margaret Hoffman

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  1. Where did you go and what was your experience like?

I went to Siem Reap, Cambodia and worked as an English teacher at The Global Child, a school for formally street working children. My experience was absolutely wonderful. Our nine months are extremely difficult to explain in few words, but the children, teachers and staff at TGC changed my life forever. Though at times, things were certainly challenging, our days were filled with absolute pure joy and laughter.

  1. What was your fondest memory of your time as a Minerva Fellow?

Some of my fondest memories in Cambodia are the countless hours we spent with the students outside of school: playing soccer, going on bike rides, meeting their families, going to their homes, going on walks, eating food together, and shopping on the street. This time we dedicated to the kids outside the classroom enabled them to fully trust and open up to us in ways we could not have imagined.

  1. What did you do during your time? What does the fellowship entail?

Our primarily role was to be English teachers at TGC, but we wore many hats including, social worker, crush, big sibling, mentor, and even parent in some cases. Throughout our time in Cambodia, we realized that we were the most consistent part of these children’s days so the least we could do was dedicate all of our time and energy to them.

  1. How has the trip changed you? 

A few of the many lessons I have learned are first, find joy in everyday. These children taught me that no matter how difficult and horrible life seems to be, you can always smile and bring joy to others around you. Second, give your whole heart to others, if you give everything you have to people, you will be amazed the beautiful love and affection you receive in return that will touch your life forever. Lastly, little things make a big difference, in your everyday life remember that simple things like saying hello to someone or reading their name off their name tag makes the world of difference, if you take the time  to do the little things, you life will be significantly more fulfilling.

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