As many of you know, I spent my spring semester of my junior year in El Salvador, doing a program called Casa de la Solidaridad. The application deadline for fall 2009 is coming up on March 31st, and I wanted to put the word out for anyone who might be considering studying abroad or who knows people who are thinking of studying abroad: Go to El Salvador!
It is not your traditional study abroad experience. You will not go out drinking every night and play the tourist traveling around Europe. You will have a life-changing experience and learn about the lives of people living in poverty in the beautiful country of El Salvador. You spend two days a week in a placement in or near San Salvador, accompanying the community, spending time with people, and sometimes teaching English or participating in other activities. You take amazing classes at the University of Central America, the Jesuit University in San Salvador. You live in community with other American students and Salvadoran scholarship students. It is a time to learn and explore the themes of social justice, simple living, spirituality, and community. (The Casa program was based on the Jesuit Volunteers International program, so there are a lot of similarities between it and what I am doing now with JVC.)
The Casa program had a huge influence on my understanding of the world, of social justice, of people, and of my calling in life. I've never met anyone who did it and was not transformed in some way. You can read my blog for more about my experiences, and check out the program's website for a lot of details and descriptions.