Departure! The countdown is on...

January 28, 2009

Frustration = Learning

In our very first meeting of the term Professor Benham Rennick told us that 'being frustrated means you are learning something' and I can't believe how very right she was. Honestly, at first I was sitting there thinking, yeah right, I learn tons of stuff in class without ever getting frustrated over it. But what she said just kept coming back to me, specially in times when I was frustrated. I started to see that she really was absolutely right.

In class, I don't get frustrated because I am not really learning, most of my time is spent concentrating on what my prof is saying and writing down notes about everything he/she says so I will be able to do well on a test later on. It is a lot like what Freire talks about in the Banking Concept, I am just soaking up everything the prof is telling me but because I am not in dialogue and questioning the material I am not truly learning it. In fact out of the three classes that I attended today I could probably only tell you the broad outline of the material that was covered. And when it comes time to write a test, generally material is memorized more so than actually learned so that I can repeat exactly what was taught and receive a good grade.

I realize that I have become more aware of when I feel frustrated, and I make an effort to stop and think, 'what am I learning from this?' instead of just stopping because I am frustrated. An excellent example is this blog. At first I was frustrated, I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like, but my lack of computer skills and experience made it difficult for me to do what I wanted to because I didn't know how. Also, I didn't enjoy typing my entries so I wrote a nice little "coming soon" message and procrastinated as long as possible until writing my first entry. While posting my first entry and again while trying to scan in my hand-written entry I encountered all sorts of difficulties with the computer putting up its little box messages where the only option is to press 'ok' even though its not okay at all! Needless to say I encountered more than a few frustrations, but looking back and even now I can see that I've also learned many things. Scanning an entry and posting is no longer difficult and takes 5 minutes instead of about half an hour. I learned enough about blogging to learn how to make links and such on my page. And, believe it or not I have come to thinkof blogging in general as 'not so bad' and even get ideas in the middle of the day of what I'm going to write about next.

More related to my trip though ... I envision this summer as being a series of frustrations and learning experiences, and in the end I hope to have been frustrated enough times to be able to feel that I really did my best to let go of control and to truly lived and learned the Ecuadorian culture.

A Few Thoughts

For this post I owe thanks to Katie, Ruby, and Jessica for providing inspiration, thank you :)

January 26, 2009

Volunteering at the Working Centre

Et voilĂ ! A successful posting of a handwritten blog entry!
If you click on the picture it will enlarge so you can read it :)
until I write again,

January 20, 2009

The Beginning

Hello world! And welcome to my blog. This is my first time ever blogging, so it should be interesting! Under threat of public humiliation in class next week if I don`t get started I am going to get this blog post up and quit procrastinating as I have done for about the past two weeks.

Here is a little bit about me. I really don’t like the idea of blogging. The main reason is I don’t really like the idea of putting a bunch of personal stuff up on the internet for anyone to find. Journaling to me is a private matter, if I’m going to write a journal entry it is usually because I have to work through something I can’t or don’t want to share with anyone else. But at the same time, that is the reason for starting this blog, so that people can find it and travel this journey with me. I will share with you my struggles, thoughts and things I enjoy in the time leading up to my departure to Ecuador and while I am there. The other thing that I struggle with in blogging is called a computer. I just don’t like typing everything and really like pen and paper, so in problem solving with my professor you may find that many of my posts are written on paper and then scanned onto my blog. I will write as legibly as possible in order for this to be effective.

Alright, enough about blogging itself and more about the reason I am here. I am a student at St. Jerome’s University, a part of the University of Waterloo, and I have been accepted into a program called Beyond Borders. This is an international service-learning program that allows students to travel abroad become immersed in another culture through a volunteer placement. This summer (2009) myself and twelve other students will be spend three months in a developing country, living with a host family and working in a community. Beyond Borders has several partner organizations that they work with: Intercordia Canada, World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and other non-governmental organizations. There are placements in many countries including Ecuador, Nicaragua, Ghana, Botswana, Honduras, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and more. There is also a wide range of placements available ranging from medical clinics to agriculture, teaching and working in day cares and youth facilities. All in all the possibilities are endless! I will be traveling to Ecuador to be working in a teaching position. I will be living somewhere within the region of Quito, which is the capital city. The organization in Ecuador that I will be working with is Fundacion Reto Internacional (FRI). I will add more details as I myself learn more.

Stay tuned for updates and links as I research, learn and experience!

January 9, 2009

Coming Soon...