Students, alumni engage in unique learning opportunities

January 02, 2019

Students prepare food.

Several dozen students, alumni, faculty and staff are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to engage side by side with peers and professionals across Central America and the Caribbean this winter break.

“Each of our five distinct programs are designed to promote cultural humility and foster critical thinking,” said Erin Sabato, director of international service and learning.

While abroad, the 75 members of the university community will learn about different aspects of public health, environmental justice, sustainability, education and community development. Most students will be staying with local host families while partnering with universities, community health centers, non-governmental organizations and educational centers. Locations and projects include:

  • Twenty-four occupational therapy and physical therapy students and 7 nursing students are traveling to Guatemala with faculty and alumni to collaborate with the Universidad Francisco Marroquin medical school and the Ian Santiago Association, as well as do a two-day camp for children with special needs and their families in the community of Joya de las Flores.

  • Seven students and a School of Business professor are traveling to Guatemala on a global solidarity program to work with the Pavarotti Educational Center and the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation.
  • An occupational therapy professor will lead an integrative capstone course in Barbados.

  • A journalism professor and 10 students will engage in a second annual global solidarity program in Puerto Rico.

  • A biology professor will lead an integrative capstone course in Costa Rica at Earth University.

“I love to learn not only about facts but about myself,” said Emma Raboin ’20, who also participated in a community-engaged global learning program in Barbados in June.

“I fell in love with the complexity of the topics that we were discussing and the complexity that comes with becoming self-aware of how you can contribute positively. My mind was being challenged and I did not want that to end. I love the complexity that comes with working with a community, and I never fully realized how many pieces go into making a community run smoothly, so that the results are actually beneficial to those who live there.”

The initiatives are purposefully designed to teach the students how to take informed and responsible actions to address the many ethical, social, and environmental challenges they will inevitably encounter as global citizens.

“Our hope is that the knowledge and skills they gain while abroad will guide their personal and professional lives well after leaving our campuses,” Sabato said.

These types of programs are just several examples of the many world-sized classroom opportunities available to our students and alumni.

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