Over their recent Spring break, a group of Albertus Students and Alumni took part in “Service Learning: Across Borders” in Canada. Leyna Arden ’14 recalls her experience of the trip below.
A few semesters ago I had the privilege of taking one of Albertus Magnus’ service learning classes, “Literature of the Immigrant.” Because my experience during this class was incredible, I became interested in partaking in another Albertus service learning class, “Service Learning: Across Borders.” I knew from the start of the Across Borders class that I would be granted an irreplaceable experience; however, I would never have thought it would have had as strong an impact on me as it did.
The Across Borders students began their journey began with a twelve hour train ride to Montreal, Canada in order to spend their spring break volunteering with five non-profit organizations. Before the trip, we spent our classes learning about hardships and problematic situations that United States citizens face on a daily basis, and were encouraged to come up with solutions to these problems. Learning about these hardships and problems in depth and attempting to come up with solutions, gave each of us an understanding of what kinds of problems people face in other countries as well.
Volunteering with the five Canadian organizations brought us face-to-face with those same hardships and problematic situations that we learned about in depth facing people in the United States. I may be able to read and learn about other countries and people in school, but nothing will ever compare to actually going and experiencing what I have learned.
The Service Learning: Across Borders class, as well as the other service learning classes offered at Albertus are not just classes; they are hands-on knowledge and most importantly, they are experiences that sitting in a classroom sometimes does not give a student. The mission of Albertus has always been “to provide men and women with an education that promotes the search for truth”, and the school’s service learning classes do exactly that. Not only do these classes encourage students to take action in their communities, but they also encourage each student to be an active person in shaping the world.
The service learning classes enabled me to find out who I truly am, and to share my gifts and knowledge with the world. I do not think I will ever fully be able to express my gratitude for the opportunities I have been given, but I will be making it one of my life’s goals to at least try.
Leyna Arden, graduated Albertus Magnus College summa cum laude May 2014, with a bachelor of arts in photography.