And we’re off! Over the next two weeks, Dr. Junlei Li and I will be supervising a group of seven students on an educational service trip through China. The students come from a variety of backgrounds and majors – from early childhood education to psychology to biology – and have all worked with us for the last few years in the Incubator 143 Research Lab at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. We all look forward to learning as much as we can while visiting preschools and kindergartens, village orphanages for children with disabilities, and community hospitals through Shanghai, Qingdao, and Beijing. Over the last year, the students have been working together to prepare for our journey – training with Simple Interactions, an initiative of the Fred Rogers Center that promotes and affirms the human connections between adults and children as the foundational building block of children’s development, learning about Chinese culture and history, and considering how we can best be helpful and spread the legacy of Fred Rogers through neighborhoods different from our own. As we travel and learn together, we will share our experiences and journey, our own learning and growing, and the importance of carrying Fred Rogers’ legacy of helpful appreciation across geographical borders. #FredWithoutBorders
This week was my first week in Cape Town, South Africa. It has been an amazing experience so far. It has also been quite interesting to see the contrast between the Parisian culture and the South African culture.
This first week in Mexico was quite the adjustment. It’s one thing to learn about culture shock, but another to go to a third world country and experience it. Seeing small children being “street performers” on the side of the street gives you a new perspective and appreciation for everything we have in the states.
Every day I basically have to pinch myself (multiple times in fact) that I’m actually here LIVING in Spain. For as long as I could remember, I knew I always wanted to study abroad in Spain and, to me, it always felt like a dream of the distant future or a day that would never come.
In the weeks leading up to my flight, I was asked multiple times, “What made you want to study abroad?” Almost instinctively I’d give the same generic response of, ”To see ways of life different than my own. I want to experience other people's culture on their terms.”
When I signed up for World Youth Day in Kraków last fall, I never expected “fear” to be in the equation. I had been to Poland several times previously, and I had never been overly concerned about my personal safety or the safety of others on my trips. Poland, and the rest of Europe, seemed to be a very stable area and so I never gave terrorism another thought.
This trip to World Youth Day (WYD) 2016 in Kraków, Poland, seemed to come quite suddenly. I had just gotten back from Rome on May 29. However, college is all about making memories and doing as much as possible.