Local Girl Scout travels the world to help out
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:11 PM
ARLINGTON At the age of 16, Sarah Cain has already traveled to half a dozen foreign countries to learn about the world and help out its inhabitants.
Cain has been a Girl Scout since her early childhood. Shed never left America before visiting New Zealand and Australia in July of 2006 to meet with fellow Girl Scouts from across the globe and become acquainted with native Maori culture.
Since then, shes gone to Costa Rica in July of this year, to perform a service mission at an environmental learning and sustainable living center with another group of Girl Scouts and shes currently living in France until July of 2008, where shell be going to school and honing the skills that she believes will allow her to practice medicine abroad.
Sarahs mom, DeAnna Cain, credits the local chapters of the Girl Scouts and the Rotary with giving Sarah these opportunities to broaden her horizons, although she noted that Sarah has contributed toward those goals as well.
She sold about 1,400 boxes of cookies to pay her way for that Costa Rica trip, said DeAnna Cain, who noted that Sarahs year in France came courtesy of the Rotarys foreign exchange program. She said she wouldnt appreciate it as much if she didnt work for it.
DeAnna Cain elaborated that Sarah underwent application processes for all three trips that included reviews of her academic performance and interviews to determine her maturity. In France, shell be studying English, French, math, biology, chemistry and physics. Sarah Cain already has some grown-up goals.
Id like to study medicine and international affairs, at either the University of Washington or Stanford, Sarah Cain said. Im interested in working for the United Nations, Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.
She wanted to learn French, since thats what they speak in a lot of parts of Africa, DeAnna said.
Why am I doing this? Sarah said. Its a good opportunity, so why not take it? I like helping people and being a doctor is a great way to do that. I was watching Oprah when she did a segment on Africa and I was shocked by the level of hardships they were enduring. I couldnt believe that people had to live like that. Theyre in desperate need of help.
While Sarah Cains trip to Costa Rica required her to plant and harvest trees for reforestation, work at a local school and restore a village playfield, her extended stay in France is proving to be at least as demanding, albeit in different ways.
The first couple of weeks I was here, it was like a vacation, until it sunk in that I was really living here, said Cain, by phone from France. Im adjusting to a whole new lifestyle and its changing my worldview. Im a bit liberal, so Ive criticized the President, but I found myself defending him when I heard the French criticizing him. I almost felt like it was okay for me to say it, but not them. I think Im becoming a better person, because Im learning more about the world, and my own place in it.
Cain also appreciates being able to share her insights with her fellow Girl Scouts.
When I came back from Costa Rica, I talked about my experiences there with some of the other Scouts and I know it opened their eyes, Cain said. When youre exposed to new ideas and new cultures, it changes the person that you are. As Girl Scouts, part of our promise is to make the world a better place.