They made it! Our Service Learning group checks in from Jamaica.
A group of 12 students and faculty from Bay State College left Monday morning for a 3 week Service Learning trip to the University of West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. This study abroad opportunity is a six credit course titled "Contemporary Problems: Study Abroad." As with all of our Service Learning trips, the group will be participating in some form of service to the local community that they will be able to tie back into their course. We look forward to hearing all about it! The group arrived safely on Monday afternoon, May 18th, and Dr. William Morrissette checked in with some first impressions!
The first word that comes to mind is contrast. The photo attached is the airport which welcomed us to Jamaica. Outside the airport was nice, but travelling to the university we went through some areas of profound poverty. The students were a bit stunned, but probably more than that it was that simple wake up call we all need now and then to realize how well we have it in the U.S. and especially in Boston.
We arrived at the University expecting to see a much nicer campus than we did. They have been experiencing a bit of a drought here so much of the greenery is dead and because of the humidity, just about everything is constructed with concrete which makes for a very cold jail like feel. We settled into our dorm rooms and then headed out to eat. Our fellow traveler, Dr. Grant took us to a local mall and the contrast was amazing. The mall was beautiful with high-end stores much like we have in the U.S. I think the students were a bit relieved to see that we would have some respite while here. We made it safely back to the campus by way of public transportation and are now safe in the dorms. Our journey this evening also took us to the supermarket where there was an armed guard carrying a semi-automatic rifle. To quote Dorothy, "We are not in Kansas anymore."
Tomorrow we will have our official orientation to the campus and begin our academic studies. We'll check back in with more updates soon!