The Study Service Term students who went to Tanzania organized and presented a bonus convocation to share their experiences.
Though there was no official time slot in the convocation schedule, Jared Zook, a senior, took the initiative and worked closely with Beverly Lapp to arrange the event and get it approved for convocation credit.
“We wanted to share [our SST] experience with everyone and include the whole campus in our story,” Zook said. “There was no way we weren’t going to!”
While Zook lamented the difficulty of trying to squeeze several months of SST into a 40-minute presentation, Ida Short, a senior, said, “SST is so complicated, and we struggled to fully explain our experience in just 40 minutes. However, I think that it’s okay that we couldn’t fully explain everything, because many students have their own SST experiences.”
The group opened the presentation with hymns sung in Swahili, the local language spoken in Tanzania, and shared stories of their time in Tanzania last spring.
Presentation attendee Gloria Showalter, a senior, enjoyed the presentation and was particularly interested in Brianna Brubaker’s service placement.
Showalter said that Brubaker was working with deaf students, “navigating general Tanzanian culture and Tanzanian deaf culture, and finding commonality between U.S. and Tanzanian deaf cultures.”
Many other stories were shared as well.
Zook said, “It was special to finally have a dedicated space and time to hear the stories of my fellow SSTers and to see their stories told to a broader community.”
Short was challenged in trying to articulate and share the internal tension she experienced while on SST, especially from integration and culture shock, but she found relief in knowing that she wasn’t alone.
Short said, “SST can be confusing with conflicting emotions and ideas, but it is nice to share that struggle with a larger student body that has similar experiences.”
About four out of five students go on SST sometime during their studies at Goshen.
Zook was thankful that they had the opportunity to share.
“There were so many great ideas and stories to tell,” Zook said. “We could probably do another two-hour presentation! For our group, the SST experience was very meaningful and certainly life-changing.”
Short agreed that sharing the experiences was important.
“Our SST group wanted to share some of our experience with fellow students, and it was really cool to be able to do that,” Short said. “I enjoyed this presentation as a time of closure and honestly sharing of our SST group’s experience with others.”