Peru and Jamaica SST groups left early last Thursday morning—at 2:28 a.m. Peru’s 11 member group and Jamaica’s nine member group both arrived safely.

Study-Service Term has been an integral part of the Goshen College academic experience for years. Yet excitement still filled the humid air as students anticipated the arrival in their respective destinations.

“I’ve heard a lot about Peru,” said Erin Bontrager, a sophomore at Goshen. Many of Bontrager’s friends, including her brother, Jesse, a senior, have participated in Peru SST.

Sitting beside her two bags, with Peruvian soles already in hand, Bontrager said, “I’m ready to experience it on my own terms.”

Bontrager has international experience in both Europe and Asia, but she’s excited to travel to a new place and become more confident in Spanish. Not everyone has Bontrager’s seven years of Spanish experience. Junior Nate Day admitted that his Spanish isn’t top notch, but “I’m as ready as I’m going to be,” Day said.

While members of Peru S.S.T. will focus on speaking the language, members of Jamaica SST will put their American Sign Language skills to the test.

While Jamaica uses a lot of the same ASL signs, Naomi Webster, a senior A.S.L. major explained that the language has differences. “A lot of the signs are from England,” said Webster. She's expecting similar differences as the differences between language in the United States and England.

Despite her nerves, Webster is excited to learn a new culture, meet new people and enjoy Jamaica’s beauty.

“It’s tough,” said Stephanie Friesen, a senior and recent participant in Jamaica S.S.T. “But it’s a good experience.”

As family members and friends encircled the two groups, Bob Yoder, campus pastor, prayed for the groups. Final passport checks were made, and A.S.L. majors signed their final goodbyes through the bus windows. Another Peru and Jamaica S.S.T. group set out on an adventure--this time, making it their own.