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Photo by Anna Hiltner

¡Soy Jackson!

Hey Everyone!

My name is Jackson Lehner, and I’m so so excited for our adventure to come! I was born in Florida but have spent most of my life in Chapel Hill, NC. I love living in Chapel Hill and met many amazing friends who shaped my extraordinary experience. It hurt to say goodbye to everyone just a few days ago because I left for Fort Collins, Colorado to visit my family. My parents live there along with my sister and moved last August, and I moved in with my grandparents, who also live in Chapel Hill.

I was extremely fortunate for my placement into a dual-language program, starting kindergarten. I spent half of my school day learning subjects in Spanish during elementary school and took two of my seven classes in Spanish during middle school. During high school, I took as many Spanish classes as I could. One of my best decisions came my sophomore year when I began service for my town’s Hispanic center—El Centro Hispano. Since then, I enjoyed many community service opportunities with different Hispanic-focused groups. At El Centro, I tutored native, Spanish-speaking students and assisted the organization’s outreach programs (such as their Latin American Festival). My Spanish level has dropped since my peak in sophomore year, so I’m looking forward to gaining much more proficiency!

Besides my enjoyment for Spanish, I’m also fascinated by biology/medicine and its potential of changing lives worldwide. My dad is a genetics postdoc, so his love for biology definitely impacted the way I think about the world. I’m also interested in business/entrepreneurship and am currently considering majoring in economics. I enjoy learning many things through YouTube videos, including men’s style, fitness tips, and current events. I am a huge fan of rap music, so there is a good chance you will find me at any given rap concert (my favorite activity). I love to socialize, and the majority of my free time is spent with my friends. My close group of friends has made me so much happier and thankful. We spend our time playing basketball, going out, and competing in video games, among many other things. There is always something fun to do with my friends, and we can easily make entertainment out of nothing when we’re together. Additionally, I have begun to develop a significant focus on my personal health and development within the past year. Lately, I am trying to drink more water, go to the gym frequently, and improve other aspects of my wellbeing.

The Bolivian dishes that I am excited to try are anything with quinoa as its staple ingredient. I want to learn dishes that are made with quinoa since this type of food is supposed to be super beneficial and has history in Bolivia. To prepare myself for this lifechanging trip, I have watched some videos about the culture and history of Bolivia. I hope to set a solid baseline knowledge of this country to enhance my experience.

In Bolivia, I hope to improve my habits and thought processes, all while being surrounded by an amazing immersive experience with a shining Bolivian population. I’m so excited for this adventure to come and to meet everybody in person!

See you all soon,

Jackson