For a pioneering group of Middle Georgia State University students, time abroad was time to serve.
On a humid day in late May, Victoria Klingler is navigating some hilly countryside on foot in the Dominican Republic, making her way to a flatbed truck to fetch a mahogany seedling and carry it to a small, freshly dug hole in the grassy slope.
Klingler is 19, a native of Byron. It's the Middle Georgia State University biology major's first time traveling outside the U.S.
But here, near the tiny village of Barrabas in this lush Caribbean nation, she feels surprisingly at home.
"I grew up on a cattle farm, going to livestock shows," she said, her face slightly sweaty as she sets the tree seedling in the ground and uses both hands to brush dirt into the hole. Klingler will repeat the process half a dozen times or more over the next two hours.
"I know hard work. This is hard, but it's fun. We're getting to see the real Dominican Republic."
Klingler, a sophomore who plans to become a large-animal veterinarian, was one of about 25 MGA students who visited the Dominican as part of the University's first "Knights Impact" experience, a service-learning trip to what the Lonely Planet travel guide describes as the Caribbean's most geographically diverse country, "with stunning mountain scenery, desert scrublands, evocative colonial architecture and beaches galore."
Read the rest of the article at http://www.mga.edu/marcomm/publications/dr-trip-flipbook/#p=1.