One of the most wonderful aspects of group travel is the variety of lenses through which each member of a group views his or her experience. Each comes in with different interests that they want to address, and leaves with a unique take on what they have seen. I often find myself noticing these themes and trends when others have asked questions or engaged in conversation. More often than not, these themes relate to our personal goals, areas of study, and passions.
Our trip was no exception to this. For me, each question I asked and every conversation I started related somehow to education and experiential learning because these are my passions. For others it was religion, history, health, and, of course, politics. It was as though each of us was a delegate from our respective groups, coming together to teach to and learn from one another. The best part was that these interactions gave all of us the chance to learn something new that we may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise. I specifically recall one day where a Biomedical Engineering student explained to everyone that the reason she was so engaged and asking so many questions was because back at school she would never have such an opportunity to focus so deeply on history and the humanities.
This got me thinking about how easy it is for each of us to get wrapped up in a specific realm of learning or work. Of course this isn’t a bad thing. We need the devoted Biomedical Engineering students of the world to stay on course and innovate, and we need the Religious Studies majors to focus on finding common-ground and understanding between groups. However, I was reminded on this trip how valuable it is to be able to take breaks from our tireless pursuits to absorb new ideas and perspectives. When we do this, we are encouraging a world full of well-rounded and empathetic individuals who are capable of working with one another in the name of progress.
I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to learn with my fellow wahoos on this trip!
Youth and Social Innovation
University of Virginia ‘19
The Brody Jewish Center, Hillel at the University of Virginia, is the focal point in a renaissance of Jewish life for the 1,000 Jewish students on Grounds.