MOVE runs international trips for students who are interested in experiencing service beyond our local venues and exploring our connectedness to the world.
What makes MOVE’s international trips special?
We build our trips around deep relationships with organizations that emphasize compassion, understanding and ideally, sustainable change. Weekly preparation meetings throughout the semester include developing an understanding of cultural sensitivity and global poverty, and bearing witness to the experiences and lives of the people with whom we work. We aim to avoid the voluntourism and poverty tourism that has come to define many service experiences abroad.
The goal is that students return from these experiences no longer thinking of the people we work with as “they” but as “we.” Students also commit to raising significant funds, not for their own travel expenses, but for the organizations with whom we work, so that good work will continue long after we have left the region.
Where do we go? Recent trips have focused on two countries:
Dominican Republic—With an emphasis on sustaining the rural way of life for farming families in the southwestern region of San Jose de Ocoa, students spend a week building a home, school or other important project and connecting with families in a small village. See the article “Hope in the Journey” from the St. Michael’s Summer 2016 Magazine for a better glimpse of the trip.
Kolkata, India—Over three weeks students begin to experience poverty in one of the most crowded cities of the world, where 70,000 families live homeless on the streets. We work with Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity, tending to the needs of children and adults with disabilities, malnutrition and other challenges. We also spend time getting to know the students of two wonderful schools committed to giving street children a future. And we work side-by-side with groups dedicated to social causes like ending the generational bondage of girls sold into the sexual slavery.
Guatemala-- This trip has an emphasis on social justice and solidarity with the indigenous people of Panajachel, Guatemala (Lake Atilian region). We spend a week focusing primarily on assisting and serving where we can, and learning of the struggles and the strengths of the indigenous communities within whom we interact and work with. We partner with the Mayan Families Organization, tending to the needs of indigenous children, single mothers, and elders that are often marginalized and ostracized by Guatemalan society. By assisting with the local indigenous people in pre-school centers, elder-care clinics, and a community organic garden, we further embrace their culture while nurturing our citizenship to the world.
As with all of our service trips, students must apply, interview, and demonstrate a commitment to MOVE’s mission before they may join the journey. We seek students who look forward to the connections and adventure and to the preparation, reflection and growth that these trips foster.
MOVE international welcomes discussions about other opportunities to travel and serve with organizations that share our social justice mission. Email email@example.com to start the conversation.