Thursday, August 26, 2010

Journalism article-Concordia Courier

The following is an advanced draft of an article I wrote for the Concordia newspaper. The first two paragraphs introduce the trip, and the rest is a summary of how my heart and mind have changed since arriving in Buenos Aires. Feel free to comment with edits, critiques or advice on what should be included/excluded or changed. Thank you!

A team of 30 students and faculty set out on Concordia’s first Around-the-World Semester, an adventure of a lifetime. We will spend four months traveling abroad to ten countries not only learning of culture, but also experiencing it firsthand. We have already begun to experience, treasure and record every intense and awe-inspiring detail. My hope is to discover a deeper sense of self, others, and my role in this giant world.

We will spend 2-3 weeks each in Argentina, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya, India, Indonesia and China. During this 18-week program, in addition to our class work, we will take part in many service projects such as teaching English in China, volunteering for an Indian orphanage, and serving in the slums of Kenya.

Our first stop is Argentina. We arrived in Buenos Aires on a foggy Tuesday afternoon, and fought to stay awake as the day dragged on. Each weekday morning, we have group devotions and class-work. The bonding of our group has been expedited because we spend the whole day together studying, reading, praying, volunteering, attempting to order lunch in Spanish, and exploring this beautiful city. Every day is full of new experiences, such as brushing your teeth with Dr. Norton, discussing literature and culture over a cup of Café con leche, and having our “university home-school” during the week. Class discussions are littered with inside jokes about getting lost on the way to the subway, participating in a street drum-show, and our black-wearing, mate-drinking, cat-loving hostel receptionist.

The second day we arrived, we started volunteering with LIFE Argentina, a non-government organization that helps support youth and kids from the slums of Buenos Aires. I started this service project without realizing the intense poverty that can exist so close to a city like Buenos Aires. Within a ten minute bus ride, we went from high-rise buildings, fancy clothing stores and cafés, to brightly painted shack-like buildings. These villas form an underprivileged community of children, trapped in poor circumstances. Our group has been able to form relationships with the kids, while serving them food, playing jump rope and soccer, coloring, reading and teaching English. Our limited Spanish has not hindered our new friends from trying to communicate with us, and even their smiles say more than enough.

Cultural differences become apparent every single day. Our hearts and minds are being stretched to encompass a larger world. Part of me misses the accessibility of California: the overabundance of a Starbucks Iced coffee, unlimited texting, and English speakers. That part of me is lessening with each day we spend away from home, away from normal life, friends and cable TV. That part of me is experiencing a new concept of freedom I had yet to learn.

The first two weeks of this trip have been the most expedited learning experience I have ever participated in. My mind is open to learn more about life, individuals, language, and God’s heart for His people.


  1. Beautiful update..........Amanda, God is doing some AMAZING work in your life and most importantly your HEART....... <3

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  3. Amanda, I love it! The changes in your heart and the view of the world from your eyes is so beautiful and is definitely an inspiration for others! This 'draft' is top quality. I wish I could express myself the way that you do!


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