Six student panelists shared their experiences with the Tang Institute’s Learning in the World (LITW) program at Wednesday’s All-School Meeting (ASM). LITW offers students learning opportunities outside of conventional classrooms, such as attending a semester at The Mountain School in Vt. or experiencing Moroccan culture over Spring break.
The panel, hosted by Carmen Muñoz-Fernández, Instructor in Spanish and Director of LITW, was composed of Patrick Doheny ’18, Justice Robinson ’18, Gabija Saginaite ’18, Emily Sanchez ’18, Akesh Shah ’18, and Tamas Tolerian ’18.
Muñoz-Fernández said at the ASM,“By taking you outside of your comfort zone, we can give you the 21st-century skills needed to navigate the world we live in… like empathy, an understanding and respect for other cultures, an awareness of complexity, [and] a sense of agency and community.”
The panel discussion covered what students learned from each program.
Sanchez, who took part in the HUACA Project to Peru, said, “Once I had an opportunity to travel to Peru and go to the different cities and see what the actual buildings looked like, I found that the difference between the Inca architecture and the Spanish architecture are actually pretty visible. For example, on a church the bottom half would be Inca architecture and then the top half would be Spanish architecture, and I thought that it was pretty symbolic of culture being erased by [Spanish] conquest.”
Robinson, who went on the South Africa and Arts trip, said, “I think one of the biggest things I brought back is the new sense and idea of what a community means. I learned so much about being with each other and feeding off of each other and loving each other. I learned to cherish the community that we are in and the community that I traveled with, so just what community means really changed a lot of me.”
Yeetang Kwok ’20 said that the ASM made him realize how students can benefit in different ways from the program.
Kwok said, “I was intrigued by how the program was not just about learning another language or another culture but that it [also] taught many other skills as well. One example I really liked was the aspect of building a community through the program that some of the students on stage mentioned.”
Itzelt Reyes ’19 said she was moved by an activity at the beginning of ASM when Muñoz-Fernández asked students who were born in or had spent significant time in areas outside the United States to stand up.
“Regarding the actual presentation, it is truly beautiful how curious and yearning the [LITW] participants were. It makes one conscious of how we’re surrounded by culturally-competent peers… All in all, I felt an incredible sense of belonging to the [Andover] community,” she said.