More than three dozen Westmont students are returning to the United States after spending a month of their
summer serving overseas. Different groups visited Tanzania, Rwanda and Indonesia. Meantime, three teams remain in Guatemala, Russia and Sri Lanka. The students have been involved in building classrooms, teaching English and serving at orphanages.
The trips are part of a student-led organization called Emmaus Road. The hope is that the service will promote a greater understanding of other cultures and world events. Twenty-year old co-leader Alyssa Shangraw is back home in Mesa, Ariz. after her trip to Indonesia. She says she was amazed by the open nature of the people she met.
“How humble they were to take us into their homes and feed us. All they knew is that we were Westerners. I mean they were a lot different from Americans. They were so welcoming. It was wonderful.”
The trips are not without potential dangers. The college had to evaluate various travel alerts due to terrorism and political instability. While abroad, one student contracted malaria, while another needed four stitches after an Ultimate Frisbee accident.
The students keep their parents and campus advisers informed through blogs on the Westmont Web site. They detail everything from cancelled camps due to cholera outbreaks in Tanzania to the stark details of a genocide memorial in Rwanda.
For more information on Emmaus Road and to read the blogs visit: http://www.westmont.edu/_current_students/pages/intercultural_programs/emmaus_road/index.html