Providence in Mexico
17-day Service-Learning Experience
For the first time in many years Providence College offered a cross-cultural academic opportunity to students. On February 25 ten Providence students, under the leadership of Jeff and Nicole Banman, embarked on a 17-day, service-learning experience to San Carlos, Mexico. The trip was sandwiched around spring break. The team readied themselves for four months prior to the trip by studying Spanish, studying short-term missions, and preparing to serve the people of Mexico. The purpose of the trip was twofold:
The first goal was to serve the people of San Carlos and the surrounding villages, which the team did in many different ways. They taught English in three different schools over two weeks, building important relationships with students while helping them improve their English. The team put on several “kids clubs” consisting of games (always lots of soccer), songs, drama and testimonies, often concluding the evening with a community-wide presentation of the Jesus film. The team also did lots of physical work including pouring a cement floor for a pastor’s house, painting a church, and upgrading the mission center where the mission personnel will stay for the upcoming rainy season.
The second goal was for the team to learn more about another country, the experience of missions, and certainly more about themselves. Much of this learning happened naturally as the team interacted with Mexican nationals every day through ministry or casual conversation. Many students made great progress in acquiring the language and all learned to be more culturally aware and sensitive. There were also many challenging experiences that stretched comfort zones and forced team members to process new experiences. This cross-cultural learning combined with classroom experience at Providence proved to be a valuable combination for students to dig deeper into what it means to “think, live and serve” as Christians in society.
All in all, it was a successful experience for all involved and the college will continue in its goal to make cross-cultural learning an option for every Providence student.
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Providence University College & Seminary