Senegal '13 Expands International Perspective
"This unique service and cultural trip began with a tour of Dakar and a visit to the Island of Goree, home of the historic 'House of Slaves' that thousands of Africans passed through before their forced journey to the Americas. The following week was spent in M'bour, where the students volunteered at Ecole Natangue, a nearby orphanage, and an organic agricultural cooperative; and conversed and made friends with English students at a local high school. Immersed in the local culture, students visited local markets and a Koranic boarding school, toured a nearby village, and took lessons in Senegalese cooking and dancing. The students on the trip returned with an immense appreciation and respect for the culture and people of Senegal, along with a renewed dedication to Project Senegal.
One of the students who went on the trip, Larson Holt, summed up the experience in the following way: 'Our experiences in Senegal have enlarged our international perspective and truly opened our creative, problem-solving minds to the world. It has inspired us to continue our learning and growth as individuals in order to tackle global issues both now and in the future.'"
-Elizabeth Cleere, Service Learning & CAS Coordinator
An Unforgettable Journey to Ethiopia '14
"While it seems absolutely impossible to assign words to the emotions and events of today...many of us have repeated to each other 'today was the single most incredible day of my life.'"
-High School Student
Over February '14 break, a group of 15 International High School students took part in a cultural and service learning trip to Ethiopia. Not only did the trip allow the students to experience international solidarity, but it immersed them in the culture of two villages. The exchange between the students and these distant communities proved to be more than a visit, it was a celebration and a truly unparalleled cultural adventure.
Two Weeks in Malawi
"Malawi 2016 done. Sitting back in San Francisco, it is sinking in just how busy and brilliant the last 2 weeks have been. Nineteen fantastics students, an awesome sidekick chaperone in Tessa, amazing support from Chigoli, BMIS, Mabuya, Cool Runnings and Mgoza. We played football in a stadium and by the lake and at Bishop Mackenzie. We trained in Netball and won our match in Salima! We had an amazing time meeting and being impressed by young Chigoli footballers and being schooled most places we went. Above all, I was reminded just how beautiful Malawi, its people and its wildlife can be."
-John B., Teacher and Chaperone
Learning from Students at École Natangué, Senegal '16
"The fifth day somehow found a way to be more meaningful and exhilarating than all the others, which I thought would be impossible. In the morning we went straight to Natangué where we helped out in classrooms. During each class, the kids sit down and color or practice writing letters, but since there are not enough tables or teachers, only half the class does the activity. While two groups were coloring, I sat down with the children waiting and introduced myself with my Senegalese name, Aïssatou (the children do not understand Carly and would just call me Toubab). The teacher told me I could read to the kids who were waiting if I wanted. Once I sat down with a book in hand, I remembered that the kids' French was not yet very developed. I opened the first page and one of the little ones, Koumba, broke the silence that they had so well maintained, and yelled out a word in Wolof: 'niay.' Considering the giant elephant on the page, I assumed he was talking about that. So I said 'éléphant' and he repeated 'éléphant'; then the others sang the word in Wolof again, 'niay.' When I turned the next page there was a chorus of young voices telling me Wolof for giraffe and I echoed. I would then tell them the French translation and they would all reply. In so many ways it feels like this culture has so much more to offer me than I have to them. Today, even the children taught me."
-Carly R., Class of 2017
Alexander '13 Discusses his Experience Traveling to India
Alexander '13 discusses his experience traveling to India.
India '16: Becoming an International Student
"It’s funny how in that final moment, I realized for the first time where I was. We had traveled 10,000 miles, to a country so different from our own. And on that last day, I finally became aware of the pure beauty of the country: the diversity of art forms, religion, cuisine, people... No matter where we were, be it the slums of Mumbai, or the rural areas of Hyderabad, the people were so full of life and culture. They are what made the country so beautiful. Their enthusiasm to bring us into their world, even for a brief moment, to shock us in the most stunning way, is what made this a cultural immersion. My eyes have been opened to culture like never before. You can read about the slums, listen to the music, watch a Bollywood dance film, but only when you're there, doing it all, do you truly learn and become an international student."
-Gwyneth L., Class of 2017
Jordan '12: The Trip of a Lifetime
“Visiting Jordan was one of the best experiences of my life. I had an amazing time at Petra, the Dead Sea was beautiful, and the family that was kind enough to open up their home to me was so welcoming that they made me feel at home. As someone who doesn't travel often, I was very hesitant at first to go somewhere so far away. However, what I had the chance to do was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I knew that if I chose not to go, I would regret it later. I loved staying with a family, because it truly showed me what the culture and family life was like. I met my correspondent's grandmother, who made me the most delicious mansaf and treated me like her own grandchild. In Aqaba, which borders Egypt and Israel, we took a boat far into the Red Sea and swam in the open water. In Wadi-Rum, we stayed in Bedouin tents and rode jeeps in the desert. How many people can say they were able to do something so incredible? These are memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I am so glad I was able to visit such a beautiful place, so rich in culture and history, as Jordan.”