CFE 2013: Where in the world?

Each year, Cultural Field Experience week (CFE) comes and goes with a great diversity of experiences and lessons learned. Whether the site is a 15 minute drive or an 18 hour plane ride away, each experience is individualized and every student takes away a different lesson based on what stood out to them the most.
Local sites give students the opportunity to get involved in the community directly around them and see all the service options that are practically right at their front door. Students at these sites may not be traveling a great distance, but their experiences are just as diverse and impactful as the furthest traveling international trip.
“The American Indian Magnet school was completely different from Minnehaha in every single way, “ said junior Katie Pope. “The kids there are coming from families that struggle with poverty and it’s a completely different situation for those students than for students here.”
Whether it’s a service project or a chance to observe how other people live, students have the opportunity to get involved in their community and explore the possibilities for both service and immersion into different things nearby.
National sites are focused on getting students out into the states to experience different ways of living and serving.
“It felt like different country because it was just a totally different culture,” said sophomore Julia Carle, who traveled to Staffordsville, Kentucky. “I learned that not everyone comes from the same background as me, and that everybody has their own story.”
This is a chance for students to travel out of the immediate community and serve people in environments that differ from their own.
The international trips this year were far-reaching and diverse and students got to experience a culture completely different from their own.
“I hear things about China, and see things on TV or go to a Chinese restaurant but the culture there is just so completely different,” said senior Elliott Fink. “It kind of offsets you for a few days but once you get used to it you can really enjoy it.”
These international trips give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a place that’s unfamiliar, and step outside of their comfort zone to do things they wouldn’t normally have the chance to do.
“I was excited to use my Spanish and see how much I could understand, and to really immerse myself in it,” said junior Kate Brown, who traveled to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. “I had to really try with my Spanish so I learned to be more confident with talking to people and trying new things.”
These trips also gave students the chance to meet and interact with new people, who might not be as different as they thought.
“I learned that kids and teenagers are the same everywhere, and you can relate to them no matter what language you speak,” said junior Annie Bonello, who travelled to Roatan, Honduras.
CFE is a week focused on experiences and those experiences are meant to teach something. It’s a lesson that isn’t the same for every person, but is individually crafted to each student based on their own personal experience at the site.


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