Engaging cultures around the globe.

MacEwan University students embrace a cross-cultural experience in Ecuador.

Aug 16, 2013

MacEwan University people are passionate about their unique learning experiences, and making a difference in the world. And they will gladly go where there is something new to be learned and something important to contribute. Because they also have a sense of adventure — willing to try new things, take risks, embrace new ideas and make good things happen.

That desire to learn and contribute, and willingness to take bold steps, has been a big part of PERL 300. The Cross Cultural Wellness and interdisciplinary service learning course that, once again, has sent a group of students to South America. The course examines concepts of wellness from a variety of cultural perspectives and includes a cross cultural experience in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  While abroad, students work on a service learning project, and interact with the local community — building homes for needy families, assisting in Physical Education, helping teach English to at-risk children. This year, a group of Phys Ed, education, nursing and sociology students travelled there and blogged about the experience.

On paper, it sounds like a pretty interesting trip. But the voices of the students reflect an experience that has had a deep effect on how they see the world and themselves in it. The level of engagement and cultural immersion provided an emotional encounter that wasn’t just about observing, but about doing, and feeling.

The blog was updated daily as the students shared their experiences and adventures. Listen…

The trip to Ecuador was for cross-cultural wellness and I came out with so much more. I really grew as a person in mind, body and soul. I have so much appreciation for everything I have and even though I didn’t take it for granted much before, I definitely am not anymore. Everything in life is a blessing and a gift, we all need to treat it as so. When we were building the house for one Ecuadorian family, I could see the life return to the mother’s eyes when she realized her life just changed. It was just a house but to her, it was the world.”

I truly believe in education beyond the textbooks and outside the classroom as it gives you a different perspective and puts the theories you learn into practice. In addition, not many students get put into a real working situations. This was an opportunity for me to join a team of physical education students, education, two nursing students and another sociology student to be working hands on with grass root organizations making a difference in their country. This wasn’t a course about us going to teach them to do things better but it was about us learning from them.”

When I applied for this trip, I was most excited to get the chance to travel and get credits for it. I never thought that my outlook on life and my perspective views would change so much.  Having the opportunity to meet the people that I have here while working with the agencies that we did is a total unforgettable experience. I will never forget the high spirited Sister Annie or the dedicated Mamita, I’ll think back to the house build & remember to appreciate the simple things in life. I’ll look back at my time at the school and remember that feeling of accomplishment from being able to teach a new skill to someone, despite a language barrier. Whether the people I met where too young to talk, or too aged to walk (another unintentional rhyme – double awesome), the experiences that I shared with them was worth every moment. I learned how to play again, to literally just act like a kid and let play happen, and use it as a means of communication, a way to bond, and a way to build relationships.”

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test copy test pics test video below
test copy test pics test video below