International immersions offered in four different countries this summer

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Campus Ministry hosts four international service experiences.

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Each year, St. Edward’s University students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to practice their faith through service all around the world. Campus Ministry’s Service Break Experience program is offering four International Immersion Experiences this year.

Montreal, Canada – Community Building

Chris Jackson, a sophomore biochemistry major, will be traveling to Montreal this summer with about nine other students to work with the L’Arche community there. L’Arche is an international organization that builds community for adults with mental and physical disabilities in the hopes of healing them from wounds of a society that often rejects them, according to Campus Ministry’s website. According to Jackson, SBE itineraries are kept very vague and you often do not know exactly what you will be doing until you get there. 

“It adds to the mystery,” Jackson said.

Within each International Immersion group, students are appointed to committees to break the pre-departure work up. Jackson is on the photography and community building committees.

Canto Grande/Lima, Peru – Poverty and Education

Eriann Panado, a junior global studies major, will be traveling to Peru this May with 13 others to explore the poverty that plagues Canto Grande, Peru. According to the website, participants in the past years have helped in classrooms, cleaned and painted; they have also assisted in home visits and interacted with the students.

According to Panado, the group only meets twice in the fall but will meet more often in the spring to prepare for their trip in May. So far, Panado said the group has designated their committees and gone on “buddy dates.” Panado, who is on the site information committee, said her job is to educate herself on the history of the location and what to expect as far as cultural norms, and then she will present this information to the rest of the group.

This will be Panado’s first time in South America, but it is on her bucket list to visit every continent.

Fort Portal, Uganda – Support and Understanding

Anthony Longoria, a sophomore psychology major, will be traveling to Fort Portal, Uganda. The group typically stays at a hotel and works with the Bayantereza Sisters at an orphanage. Longoria described the Sisters as “really well-respected throughout Uganda.”

Longoria also mentioned the possibility of the group getting to watch a live birth.

“I’ve never seen a birth, but I’m not nervous. I think it will be interesting,” Longoria said.

Longoria said his group is doing volunteer work to build community in preparation for the immersion. The group is going to the Family Link orphanage in Austin in the coming weeks for their Day of Service project.

Bangalore, India – Orphan Outreach

This summer, Lauren Crow, a sophomore special education major, will travel to Bangalore, India where she will examine issues of globalization and poverty in the growing city sometimes referred to as “silicon valley.”

 Crow is on the paperwork committee for her group, so she is in charge of making sure all the group members have health insurance cards, visas and other important documents for the trip. The group is planning its Day of Service for the fall. Crow says her group will travel to a ranch to take care of foster children while the foster parents are receiving training.

“I am most nervous about the trip itself; being immersed in such a wildly different culture; to get out of that American mindset and just be there with the children without a label on myself,” Crow said.