Anne Arthur

2014 | Marblehead Lighthouse School | Marblehead, MA

My favorite memory from my ARCC trip to Cambodia was waking up at 4AM to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Angkor Wat. I remember arriving at the base of the temple and looking up in sudden awe and amazement. That day we got the opportunity to explore the halls and to even talk to some of the monks. As a group we sat on the edge of the temple and we watched the sunrise up through the jungle, and over the temple. Sitting in complete silence all we could hear was the echo of cicadas, and we could feel the warmth of the sun beginning to warm the cold stone we sat on. I will never forget this moment and I have never been more thankful to get the opportunity to travel to such an amazing place.

After my first ARCC adventure to Costa Rica, I was inspired by the school we visited, La Escuela de Florida. Being in that school and getting the opportunity to meet such amazing kids who wanted to learn, inspired me to sign up for another ARCC trip. I decided that on my next trip I would travel halfway around the world to Cambodia and Vietnam. Before going on my trip I decided to learn more about the culture and history of these countries. During my research I read a book called “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, that mentioned the drastic effect that education has on third world countries. With the help of my family we decided to adopt a school in Cambodia. We worked to raise over $13,000 by creating a huge auction and selling tickets to our comedy show. Thanks to the help of everyone in my community we were able to adopt what is now called the Marblehead Lighthouse School in Cambodia. During my ARCC trip to Cambodia I was now more determined and inspired to keep working on developing ways for education to prosper in this country. I will never forget teaching at the Elma School in Cambodia and seeing just how much education meant to all the students that came to class to learn something new.

My advice for future ARCC students is to say “Yes!” to every opportunity you are presented with. Wherever you decide to go there is always something new to try and you should always try it, even if you are not sure. When I was in Cambodia my group was offered to try fried tarantula and being someone who hates spiders, I decided to try it, and I have never regretted eating it. If you are ever offered to go on a hike through the rainforest or to play soccer with the locals, you need to break out of your comfort zone and say “Yes!”, and I promise you it will be worth your while.