Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nuevo Semestre!!!! New Semester!!!

Welcome to Cuernavaca!!!!

A new semester has started for the Social Work in Latin America Context program. We have 16 new students from all over the U.S., from Colorado to New York City.

We are now into our 4th week and the whole group is doing great. Having a new group can sometimes be challenging because we are still getting to know each other. During the 2nd week, I had the opportunity of plan Lab Group, a weekly group run by faculty and/or students. In Lab Group the facilitator can choose any theme that connects to the academic work of the semester.

The theme of my lab group was “Why social work?” I wanted to know a little more about why my students chose social work. I told them to think of that one moment in their lives that made realize that social work was a right fit. This activity was not just another exercise to say “because I want to help”- they made bigger connections to their own experience and personal lives.

The students each had and experience that allowed them to access help whether from an agency or even a social worker. They wrote down their experience on a card and then were able to share their story with the group, of course only if they felt comfortable. They all amazed me at how comfortable they felt in sharing because we had known each other for so little time. They were all respectful and supportive of everyone’s experience. After sharing they were able to take their card and post it on a bulletin board. Then they connected their cards together to each others. Finally, they created a web consisting of the moments that brought them to Social Work and consequently, here to Cuernavaca and CGE.

Tying the string together gave it greater significance to the fact that for the next couple months we will be bound to one another. We will share many memories together and there will be times that we all will feel lost but in taking one look at our web will remind us why we are here. We are working together to understand not only ourselves but those who we will serve in the future. We are there to walk together and to have respect for ourselves and those around us.

I would like to end by sharing a quote that I find personally motivating and helps me to be both inspired and critical of my own work: "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." -Lilla Watson

"Why Social Work?" Students Web

-Alendi Vidal

Center for Global Education- Mexico

International Resident Advisor and Intern

Gettysburg College‘10

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