Experience abroad has given her a new vision

Tara Clark (third fromthe right) and her students after they climbed up Volcán Acatenango. Volcán Fuego, Guatemala’s most active volcano, towers behind them. -Photo provided

Her official title was “Onsite Program Coordinator,” but the registered nurse was so much more - teacher, nurse, supervisor, administrator, planner and friend to the students.

Last February Ogden graduate Tara Clark moved to Antigua, Guatemala, and took a new job working for her former college, Bethel University.

Clark was the on-the-ground leader for the university’s study abroad program in the Central American country.

“I was working as an oncology nurse in a hospital but was getting burned out,” said Clark. “Then I heard about this opening at my alma mater.”

She and the students she lived with spent half their time living in Antigua taking language school courses, and the other half working with Students International in Magdalena Milpas Altas, a mission organization based out of the U.S. whose aim she explained is to develop and empower impoverished communities in Latin America through creating relationships, opportunities and partnerships in faith journeys. 

“At Magdalena Milpas Altas, where we were for six weeks, my students partnered with full-time national staff through their internships at a special education school, a medical clinic, a tutoring program and a women’s social work program focused on sewing and jewelry making (students generally choose to serve in sites that relate to their majors).”

This was not Clark’s first experience traveling abroad: As an 18-year-old she spent two weeks in China teaching English. That’s when she said the travel bug hit her. Since then she has traveled to Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Thailand.

But Guatemala holds a special place in her heart. For her, it now feels like a second home.

Read more in the July 12 issue of The Ogden Reporter.