International Educator - January/February 2012 - 45

“absolutely nothing today is about you. Everything today is about the people we are here to be with.”
sues ranging from basic needs, such as access to water, to human rights, and social justice. E.J. Yoder, a university senior instructor in communications started the program with a longtime friend at PeaceJam. In May of 2010, she took her first group of students— six university women majoring in every discipline from business to international studies—to the tiny village of San Lucas Tolimán on Lago Atitlán, where students lived and worked at the Rigoberta Menchú Tum Foundation Education Center that teaches Mayan middle schoolers. “We wanted to put a program together working with a laureate because the laureates always need help and are always working on a shoestring,” Yoder said. “We picked Guatemala because it’s close to Denver and the airfare is within reach for students.” The three-week program offers three semester credits and costs between $2,700 and $3,000. Students pay their own airfare and personal expenses. The village lies along the picturesque Lake Victoria and is home to some 2,000 people whose livelihood depends mostly on fishing and farming—unlike most other villages ringing the lake that are making money off tourists. Students sleep in dorm-like rooms at the education center, which has a small restaurant and where the cook, Carmen, makes exquisite Mayan meals with the students’ help. The first year of the program, a hurricane and volcanic eruption flattened homes and buried others in mud. Instead of following their planned curriculum, the students cooked and shopped for staples as some 80 families sought shelter in the education center. They took purified water to a town of 300 whose water supply was wiped out. After returning to the United States, the students crafted a five-year business plan designed to transform the education center into a full ecological tourist site. This past May, Yoder took 10 students—seven women and three men—who painted the education center kitchen and taught middle schoolers English, computer skills, and music. During both trips, Yoder found she had to gently remind some students that “it’s really not about them.” “International service is not your traditional ‘go and study a language and focus on the culture’ experience,” Yoder says. “And a Mayan community is very different from where [the students] come from.” For instance, this past summer, some students— accustomed to eating as much as they like in the United States—didn’t understand that in San Lucas, there was a limit to the available food. “That’s when you say, ‘Excuse me, what are you doing?’” Yoder says. “‘So and so hasn’t gotten their pork chop yet. Can you just back off a little?’ Some also had this deep sense that ‘my time is my time and I can do anything I want.’ It took me gently nudging and saying: ‘Absolutely nothing today is about you. Everything today is about the people we are here to be with.’” Maria Fenton, who visited San Lucas as a rising senior in 2010 and this past summer as Yoder’s assistant, decided after her two Guatemalan trips to pursue a career in court mediation for civil cases. “Guatemala has been in a 36-year civil war and a lot of the culture…you can see the distress in the people,” says the 23-year-old Fenton, adding that the one thing she learned that will help her most in her career is patience. “Being an American, you always feel like you want to produce and that there should always be something on the burner,” Fenton says. “In Guatemala, things work very slowly, and what I learned was to take time with what you’re doing and make sure it fits into your life. In mediation, you have to do the same—take the time to go through the process that the individuals need to come to agreement.” IE
dana WIlKIE is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. her last article for IE was “In Sync: The Peace Corps and International Education” in the September/October 2011 issue.

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International Educator - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - January/February 2012

International Educator - January/February 2012
Contents
From the Editors
Front Lines
In Brief
Voices: Rollins College President Lewis Duncan
Finding a Home in Higher Education
Promoting Peace Th Rough Partnerships
New York University Becomes a Global Network University
International Education Fairs
Education Abroad
A View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - January/February 2012 - International Educator - January/February 2012
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Cover2
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Contents
International Educator - January/February 2012 - From the Editors
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 3
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Front Lines
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 5
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 6
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 7
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 8
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 9
International Educator - January/February 2012 - In Brief
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 11
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 12
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 13
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 14
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 15
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 16
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 17
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 18
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 19
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 20
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 21
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Voices: Rollins College President Lewis Duncan
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 23
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 24
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 25
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 26
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 27
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Finding a Home in Higher Education
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 29
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 30
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 31
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 32
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 33
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 34
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 35
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 36
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 37
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 38
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 39
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Promoting Peace Th Rough Partnerships
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 41
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 42
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 43
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 44
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 45
International Educator - January/February 2012 - New York University Becomes a Global Network University
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 47
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 48
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 49
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 50
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 51
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 52
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 53
International Educator - January/February 2012 - International Education Fairs
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 55
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Education Abroad
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 57
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 58
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 59
International Educator - January/February 2012 - A View From Out Here
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 61
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 62
International Educator - January/February 2012 - 63
International Educator - January/February 2012 - In Focus
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Cover3
International Educator - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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