Chrishauna Curry | Echo
During the month of January 2019, there were multiple trips to various countries such as Peru, Malawi, United Kingdom, Greece and Italy.
A group of students taught an education diversity class in the Philippines. Sophomore education major Laura Jeggle said that it was her first cultural experience outside of the United States. She claimed that she took much joy in serving the Filipino community. When they were not in the classrooms, they were visiting and spending time at a children's home or at the local orphanage interacting with toddlers and babies and playing outdoor games with children.
These experiences had a positive impact on the students. Jeggle said that her experience in the Philippines taught her more about gratefulness.
"In American culture, we already have so much and we're always wanting more…we are never satisfied," Jeggle said. Junior Daniela Quesada went to Malawi taking a health development class. Her days consisted of community mapping, talking to residents about natural resources and visiting farms and local businesses. She said that she was struck by the fact that those who lived in the most impoverished communities were so joyous and kind.
Sophomore Courtney Thompson visited both Italy and Greece over the month of January. She explored ancient ruins, visited monasteries on the top of snowy mountains and jumped off a 25-foot cliff into the Aegean Sea.
Thompson spoke about how her experience at the Meteora Monastery in Greece shaped the way she viewed Christianity where she viewed the Room of Martyrs, full of Christians that died for their faith. It made her question how to go about interacting with those that do not believe in her Christian faith.
"How can we still show our love for God as we walk among very worldly people?"
Experiencing a different part of the world led to a bit of culture shock for some of the students. Jeggle said that the verbal communication of her students in the Philippines were vastly different from that in America, making it quite difficult to grasp an understanding of how the students were responding to their teaching. Thompson said that she grew a deep appreciation for the cultural difference in Greece and Italy.
"Experiencing how others live on a daily basis all the way across the world is such a privilege," Thompson said. "It was different from what I had grown so comfortable to in the United States."
She expressed that she went into the experience without the urge to judge the culture. She developed an appreciation even visiting cities like Thessaloniki and Athens that were described as 'run down.' Thompson said that she went to both countries to experience the culture and atmosphere for what it was.
"It was so freeing to have the mindset that I didn't have to 'fix anything'," Thompson said.
Both Jeggle and Thompson claimed that they had a positive experience and would recommend other Taylor students to take advantage of J-term trip opportunities.
Jeggle stated that her experience in the Philippines seemed to feel like missions work. Their group brought many school supplies and toys for the children in the Filipino community. Jeggle said that the best part of her J-term trip was serving the community while also practicing her vocation.
"I would definitely recommend J-term trips," Jeggle said. "I think it's a great way to experience another culture, experience another part of the world."