Friday, January 14, 2011

Follow Friday: Going Abroad

I have been inactive on the blog for more than a week. Apologies.

This January has been a bit different from the past few Januarys. One of the best features of Saint Mary's was Jan-Term. What is Jan-Term? It's a one-month intersession, where students take one intensive course. One class, three hours a day, four days a week, four weeks. It's an entire semester of work slammed into one month. The classes are academic, but they're also pretty non-traditional. Some classes offered: Feminism and Mad Men, Slow Food: Sustainable Eating in the Bay Area, and Intro to Opera. I took the last class listed there. And surprisingly enjoyed it.

There are a few travel classes offered, too. I was incredibly lucky and took three travel courses in my four years. Freshman and Sophomore years I went to New Orleans and performed relief work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This time last year I was in Satarém, Brazil, a small town on the Amazon river. The cumulative ten weeks I spent out of my typical habitat are some of the best memories I've ever made.

Those travels were more than just touristtrips, they were
immersions in another culture, challenging mentally, emotionally, and philosophically. We were thrown into other-worldly situations: clearing out homes that hadn't been touched for more than a year after being underwater during the post-Katrina floods, teaching English to children who only speak Portuguese, and building homes for people returning to New Orleans. As I said, they were challenging. But they were also, very rewarding.

Each class was led by the same professor (though she preferred to let the class run itself, like a democracy), Shawny Anderson. She is a great woman and advisor. She's a big reason for some of the success I've had.

Now, she's taking another class on an incredible journey. There are 15-some students and instructors going to the Dominca islands in the Carribbean. They have been living and working alongside the people in the Carib Territory for about a week and will be doing so for the next two weeks.

In their new world, they are updating a blog everyday with videos, photos, and insightful text. Read it, watch it, experience it here:

The class is a beautiful experience, and the blog is a direct line to their experiences. I hope you enjoy it.

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