So it has been a little while since I last wrote. Life has been exceedingly busy and I’m not gonna lie, I have been putting off writing this post because so much happens every day that I simply don’t know where to begin! I guess the best place to begin would be to just fill you all in on the program in general.
In no way, shape, or form is this a typical study abroad experience. First of all, the alternative education model is certainly a change from Georgetown’s traditional education system. The semester is broken up into four main “units” during which we study agriculture, land rights, water, and mining. Each unit is 2-3 weeks long. We study and discuss the topics for a few days before leaving for a week long homestay in various villages. Upon returning we reflect upon and synthesize what we have learned. Every unit has four facilitators that basically organize the student groups’ activities for the unit. During your time as a facilitator you are busy 24/7. Although rewarding at the end, it is very stressful and tense during the process.
As of last night, I have officially finished my role as a facilitator for Unit 4, which focused on water resources and dam development. Water being my forte, it was a fascinating unit but being a facilitator has certainly taken a toll as evidenced by the large bags under my eyes. Nonetheless, it was rewarding to realize my own creative and leadership potential.
A reoccurring theme throughout the units is that the capitalist system which the world runs on simply cannot sustain our planet into the future. Be it agriculture or land rights or water, it all boils down to the fact that we are all forced into this system in which making more money to buy more stuff is the ultimate goal. The only problem is that we are running out of resources to feed this growing consumption (see “The Story of Stuff”: ). This leaves us all with the dilemma of how can we actually practice sustainability while ultimately being a consumer in this capitalist system. Sure we can say that we will only buy second hand goods and local, organic food products but how feasible is that really? I do not know that answer to this question and honestly it is just overwhelming to think about. This is the first time in my life that I have questioned the system that runs my existence. It will be interesting to return to America with this new perspective.
That return to American, however, will not be taking place until August 13th. While the program officially ends May 20th, I will be staying on afterwards to travel for two weeks before moving on to Chiang Mai in Northwest Thailand to intern with Documentary Arts in Asia. I must admit I am petrified for everyone to leave while I remain here, but I know that the experience will be amazing.
Anyways, that is all for now. Pictures should be coming soon if I can ever figure out how to load them on this site!