Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Critical Thinking Community

We have finished our Spring 2015 semester and students are now in the process of transitioning back home. Here is a reflection from David Crowe (FA ’14, Covenant College) on how the learning ignited in a semester abroad is a lifelong process that continues even after returning home. Praise God that we are able to “cultivate a Christ-centered community of critical thinking learner-scholars” that makes LASP a truly rich study abroad experience!


One of the guys who lived on my hall last year attended the Latin American Studies Program this semester and just recently came back to the U.S. For the past couple months we've been saying how we can't wait to talk to each other about our experiences because… “We know.” He said he can't wait to talk to me and another friend who did the program in spring 2014 because we know what it's like to go through it. It's so true. Most of the people that we know haven't gone through an experience as intense and challenging as the Latin American Studies Program. That's why we're so excited and anxious to talk with each other about our experiences because we "get it." We understand the struggles, the challenges, the questions, and everything else that one goes through when one does LASP.

This makes me think of all the friends I made while in Costa Rica because they “get it” and they “get” me. Even though I know a lot of great people and even though I've had good conversations with people, there doesn't seem to be anything that can compare with the conversations I've had with those people up there in that picture. ^^^

I remember a conversation I had with Molly on the bus back to our host families about poverty and living standards, and if the Bible has different implications for different people groups. I remember having a conversation with Conor, John, Haley and Kelsey in Granada, Nicaragua about consumerism and this idea that if we have the resources to have everything we want materially, like indoor plumbing, bigger houses, more TV channels, etc. then why not have it? I remember conversations with Jenica and Rachel after lectures about feeling hopeless and useless when faced with the problems of the world. I also remember Jenica, Rachel, Kelly, and Mandi and how we struggled so much with our project on the Marginalized of Latin America. We kept feeling so defeated and kept going back and forth between ideas. We could not figure out what to think, feel or do and eventually we had to take a break and go get some bread and empanadas from the store down the road. I remember talking with Jenniah on the bus on the way to Volcán Poás because she asked for advice and tips on how to improve her Spanish. I remember talking with Bre, Veronica and Michael on the way back to the LASP office from our Community Immersion Experiences and sharing our general thoughts about what we had learned throughout the semester. I remember talking with Jason on Facebook just a few weeks ago about singleness and the frustrations that can come with that. And of course I always remember my conversations with Rose and Kelsey. On our walks to and from our San José houses we always had the best conversations about spirituality, theology and all the topics that we were learning about in Core Seminar.

I have grown so much from those conversations and I need those people in my life. I want to keep having conversations with them, to keep learning from them and to keep growing together.