In August of 2013, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Ghana, Africa with the organization Global Brigades. After returning to the US, and more specifically to Loyola, I enrolled in UNIV 292, or International Service Learning. This engaged-learning class, taught by Professor Patrick Green, was the best class I have ever taken at Loyola. Not only was I able to reconnect weekly with fellow brigaders, but I was also able to take the time to reflect on my many extraordinary experiences in Ghana.
Below is the e-portfolio I created while taking International Service Learning. It will allow you a glimpse into both my experiences in Africa and my subsequent experiences in the classroom.
Consider the values named in the mission statement of Loyola to “expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith.” How have you shown a commitment to one or more of these values through your engaged learning experiences? How do the artifacts you have uploaded support this claim.
During my travels in Ghana, I was given the opportunity to learn about a new culture, a new place, and a new way of life. I was introduced to a new way of living – a relaxed lifestyle more concerned with peace of mind than timeliness. Additionally, I learned about a wonderful culture embedded in music and dance.
While in Ghana, I worked to promote justice while working at the clinic. In four days of clinic, we were able to see over nine hundred patients. These nine hundred patients had not seen a doctor for years, and probably would not have seen one for many more years if it weren’t for our clinic. Knowing this broke my heart. For them, seeing a doctor happened sporadically, if at all. Whereas for us, seeing a doctor is something we take for granted every time we have a cold. Thus, I worked diligently to meet their healthcare needs in a way I deemed “fair”.
My faith strengthened during my stay in Ghana. I was able to glimpse life from a different point-of-view, and in doing so, my faith changed. Through my interactions with the people of Ghana, I experienced love and acceptance in a new way. I found happiness and hope in a country I had never been to before. And my relationship with God changed because of the new path he had set so clearly before me.
Therefore, I have shown a commitment to learning, justice, and faith through my engaged learning experiences both in Ghana and in the classroom. My mind and heart have been opened, and because of this, I have earned my engagement key.