Tamkin Documents GSE Ecuador Trip


Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

Over spring break, sophomore Emily Tamkin captured her peers’ adventures on film during a trip to rural Cuenca, Ecuador.

The trip, set up by the Global Student Embassy (GSE,) is an annual event, and their main goal according to Tamkin is to “educate students here and in other Latin American countries about environmental sustainability.” GSE also aims to immerse students in other countries’ cultures.

“When you go down and you do your trip and you’re actually living in some distinct foreign country,” Tamkin explained. “You’re really experiencing the culture there and living among the indigenous people.”

On the trip, students assisted reforestation programs, worked with kids, and visited communities of indigenous women farmers.

The trip also serves as a bonding experience for students. “You’ve got all these strangers, these people who start off as strangers, and really quickly are forced to become really close, and then by the end of the trip you’re just all such great friends,” said Tamkin.

“The Campo trip this year was to Cuenca, Ecuador, which is pretty high up, so we spent a day acclimating,” Tamkin said, referring to Cuenca’s altitude. Tamkin is the social media director and recruitment manager for Campolindo’s GSE club. This year, her role on the trip was filming. “I kind of brought a GoPro and a camera and just filmed the whole trip,” she said. Tamkin did the same last year, compiling her footage into “a cute little montage” set to background music.

Senior Spencer Spiering, who has traveled with GSE in the past, has seen Tamkin in action. “Last year she’d just get footage of all the different activities we were doing,” he explained. “Where we were working and doing all the community projects, or whether we were doing the activities, when we went to hike to a waterfall to go swimming.”

“She was getting us working in the garden, and weeding and planting and all of that, usually when we went to the schools or the different facilities,” Maddy Doane said about Tamkin’s efforts during this year’s trip.

“She was really excited to get everyone in the shot, and kept telling people to smile,” Doane mentioned.

The filming process went, for the most part, smoothly. At times though, filming did prove challenging. “It’s kind of like a cultural thing,” Tamkin said. “The big American technology is not accepted as much in the rural areas we were in, so I had to leave my camera back most of the time.”

Luckily, Tamkin still found a way to get footage, despite not being able to use her normal camera. “With the little GoPro you can be more secretive about it,” she said.

Tamkin often had a hard time finding opportunities to charge her camera batteries. That didn’t prevent Tamkin from gathering her shots, however.

“Everyone there seemed to be a photographer and had a camera,” said Tamkin. “[It] was really cool for me because I didn’t have to bring my camera everywhere, because everyone else was doing my job for me.”

“The footage I gathered will be used for future videos I make for GSE,” Tamkin said. “It’s used for the recruitment videos we’re going to do, and also any other future GSE films are going to use the footage.” When Tamkin’s video is finished, it will be available for viewing on YouTube, along with last year’s film.

“My favorite thing to film was kind of when we were just hanging out as a group,” Tamkin said. “There’s this experience where you kind of take all these random kids who don’t really know each other, and put them in a new place.”