Dreaming of far-off places

Service learning trips are a way for students to give back and learn about a new culture. Faculty and staff help lead  groups of students on a trip to be immersed in a new culture and learn through service opportunities each spring break and summer.

Spring break trips this year include Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Canton.

The information page on Malone.edu said, “Our [Brazil] team will be involved in a number of community outreach opportunities including the potential for a youth basketball clinic, baking lessons, assisting in the local international school, and a feeding ministry.”

It also said in Ecuador they will be helping with classroom support, teaching workshops, child activities, field trips, general maintenance, and possible local community partnerships. The team will also have the opportunity to aid in starting a music club as well.

Students are immersed in a new culture and learn through service opportunities each spring break and summer (Photo by Kelsey Garrett)

Students are immersed in a new culture and learn through service opportunities each spring break and summer (Photo by Kelsey Garrett)

According to the information page the Guatemala trip is only available for junior and senior nursing majors. They will be working in the hospital with the medical staff and a translator under the direction of the “nurse leader.” They may also have an opportunity to go to a Mayan village helping with nutritional programs.

Students do not have to leave the country to serve and learn. A group will be partnering with Lighthouse Ministries, an urban youth outreach organization offering programs to supporting at-risk youth living in Southeast Canton.

Students participating in summer trips will find themselves in Thailand, Kenya, Poland or Italy.

Stacy Utecht, Resident Director of Blossom Hall, led the Thailand trip last May and is leading another one this May. The team will be working with an organization that helps children at risk of being sold into sex trafficking.

Unlike the past trip, this year Utecht plans to take the group into the red light district of Bangkok. Utecht said she want students to understand the issues that are in Thailand and then see an organization that is working toward a long term solution.

Utecht said,“I think my hope when I take a trip with students is that their eyes are opened to the injustice and that they become empowered to make a difference.”

The information page reports that the Kenya trip will have the group meeting students and interacting with Kenyan Christians. There will be prayer, worship and interaction with children. A visit to a displaced person village where homes were built by Habitat for Humanity is on the itinerary as well. The opportunity to take in some wildlife may also be available.

There will be another trip to Poland this May. It will include meeting middle school students and helping better their English and build relationships with students from a Warsaw college. A trip to Auschwitz is also planned for the trip.

Katelyn Manda, senior social work major and psychology minor, went with the service learning group to Poland in 2014.

She said that the trip was very eye opening. Visiting Auschwitz showed her how humans can be so evil but simultaneously demonstrated hope because the injustice was stopped.

Being in the new culture showed her that people are not all that different. Humans all generally have the same interests and needs.

Manda said, “It showed that they were all like us. They weren’t any different. It showed how similar you really are to other cultures. There is no difference except for a language barrier. If you can get past that you really do get to connect.”

The information page said Italy trip includes touring major travel destinations like the Colosseum and Pompeii. The primary aim of the trip, however, is serving with north African and Afghani refugees at various churches and ministries.


Josey Petz is the editor-in-chief for The Aviso.

Categories: Features

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