Risk Analyst Digs Foundations for Better Communities Abroad

March 8, 2011 Sarah Schwartz

Daniel Bradley ’06 isn’t the type to relax on the beach when he goes on vacation. A catastrophe risk analyst for the reinsurance brokerage division of Towers Watson (TW), Bradley also likes mixing cement and digging foundations. As a volunteer he does more than make calculations about risk; he travels abroad helping communities in need rebuild.

Delighted to travel and determined to help, Bradley has participated in several service trips in association with Esperanza International over the past six years. However, it may never have been possible without an introduction to the world beyond the U.S. borders.

“I doubt that I would be a traveler if I had not studied at Arcadia,” says the Mathematics and Spanish double major. “I had never left the country until London Preview. During that week, I ultimately decided to study abroad. Janice Finn, Associate Dean for International Affairs, held my hand through the application process for the Gilman International Study scholarship. I won it and took off for Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the spring of 2004.”

Completely immersed in the language and culture, Bradley lived with a host family while studying Spanish for 20 hours a week. When the semester was over, he found it difficult to leave his new found home. So Bradley elected to travel to Tijuana, Mexico, with an enthusiastic group of Arcadia students during spring break in 2005. It was there he was first introduced to Esperanza International and its community building initiatives.

“Esperanza members have pride, and they want to solve their own problems, but they do not have the right tools to get things started. They save money to build their own houses, and volunteers, mostly from the U.S., help them in the construction process. Tijuana was so different from the other parts of Mexico that I had visited.  The trip left me speechless, and I have not yet had a more powerful experience.”

Bradley has continued to volunteer with the organization ever since. Most recently traveling to Rio Grande, Oaxaca, to begin a new project on behalf of Esperanza. As part of the first volunteer group to work in this community, it was the goal of the group to help Esperanza foster a trusting relationship between the volunteers and the community.

“We slept in sleeping bags inside tents on the second floor of a church pavilion, had one shower for nine people, and the nearest bank with an ATM was 60 minutes drive away,” he says. “But while the Oaxaca Trek was not quite as comfortable as the Tijuana ones, we were shown a tremendous amount of hospitality by the communities.”

In the future, Bradley hopes to become an English teacher in Ecuador. He is currently taking steps to make that dream a reality.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer for Esperanza International.

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