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ROTC cadet participated in cultural understanding and language proficiency program

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The following is a reflection by ROTC Cadet Alyssa Allen.

For the month of June, I had the privilege to travel abroad with eight team members to teach English to Lithuanian military members. This was a challenging and rewarding experience; overall, it helped me become a better leader and better-rounded individual.

First, we had to learn how to make lesson plans for every week we were there. At first, it was difficult but after I caught on, I was better able to engage my audience and check for understanding or confusion. I believe this will help me become a better leader because it is necessary for a leader to be able to communicate an idea and mentor their subordinates.

We also were able to participate in two different bike tours in Vilnius and Klaipeda, Lithuania. During these tours, I learned more about the culture and the history of the Lithuanians. It allowed me to better understand how even the smallest countries are affected during wartime, even though you might not consider them. This gave me a better appreciation for how important decisions can be and how they affect everyone. In our last few days there, we were able to visit a children’s hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania.

During that trip, the workers described how they were so thankful for many American organizations that donated things for the children there. It was encouraging seeing things done by charities actually making a difference. It was also humbling seeing how fortunate we were to have our health and to be able to give the children a distraction during their day. Finally, we had a traditional Lithuanian meal that our students provided for us. After we told them about our favorite parts of the trip, they described their favorite parts of America.

One individual said that Americans are always about helping people and that our country always puts the people first. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip because it reminded me what makes our country special. I think, as a leader, it is important to live up to this perception—that we put our people first.