Cohort 9 visits Safari Park with disadvantaged children

Cohort 9 visits Budapest Safari Park for the group's outreach effort.

Cohort 9 participated in a safari park excursion with children from Budapest “State Care” (orphanage). With the help of many local volunteers from Hakosz (Students in the Community Service), students had the exciting opportunity to meet more than 20 children ages 4 to 12 at the Budapest Safari Park, located 30 minutes outside of the city.

“It was an enjoyable time of sharing laughter, interactive games and diverse languages,” said Wendy Lowe, coordinator of the Stetson University Executive MBA program.

The cohort was broken into six teams, each with three or four children assigned to it. Along with the volunteers from Hakosz, the groups toured the park, seeing animals such as bears, deer, birds and wolves in their natural habitats while team members played interactive games with one another.

“One of the games was each team would build a sugar cube castle while blindfolded,” explained Lowe. “While we gave the Hungarian children directions in English, they gave us directions such us up, down, left and right in English. We also learned to turn over a rug together using logic and teamwork as we all stood on the mat.

A bear was part of the park tour.

“Despite the language barriers, the walls came down with smiles, sharing of local snacks and with the help of the volunteers,” said Lowe. “Stetson students felt proud to be able to give these children a field trip away from their everyday surroundings and into a natural habitat where we could join in their excitement. During our three hours together, we shared more than just fun and games, we truly made a significant impact in their lives!

“Wayne Rigsby became a human jungle gym as the kids climbed on him and enjoyed his spirit. Christina Boncela immediately bonded with a little girl that looked up to her like a sister. Joe Chatterjee had running races with several boys who found his energy contagious. These children perhaps made a more significant impact on us! They helped us realize that the motto “work hard, play hard” is definitely rewarding, and as we learned at Nokia, ‘living adventurously’ is possible. We will take away numerous life lessons from our time with these loving children.”

The trip to the Budapest Safari Park was Cohort 9’s last organized activity together on the international trip.

“We ended our trip with farewells and hugs,” said Lowe. “About a quarter of the group will be extending their trip and traveling elsewhere in Europe and beyond. As these students travel by planes, trains and automobiles, we will have lasting memories of our time in Istanbul and Budapest.”