A message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus
Rhonda Atkinson, professor of education and chair for education in the Education Preparation Institute on West Campus, recently returned from a one-week service learning trip under the auspices of Cross-Cultural Solutions, an organization that promotes meaningful volunteerism and cultural immersion in 10 locations around the world.
In December 2014, Director of Study Abroad and Global Experiences Jennifer Robertson forwarded an email from a Florida Consortium for International Education colleague at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) to Valencia faculty and staff members. Her colleague was looking for an instructor to accompany her to Morocco with HCC students in May for a one-credit, interdisciplinary study class. Rhonda, along with two faculty members and five students from HCC and one Lake-Sumter State College faculty member signed up for the experience.
Program participants stayed in a home-base in Rabat, Morocco, and were assigned to one of three service locations: a children’s hospital, an adult learning center and an orphanage. Rhonda spent three days at the adult learning center helping Moroccans practice their English communication skills and two days at the orphanage where she worked with students with special needs.
While mornings were devoted to service, afternoons were spent learning more about the Moroccan culture through informal classes in cooking, Arabic and Islam and through trips to cultural sights in Rabat. Rhonda intends to use her experience to inform her work on the Service Learning Advisory Committee and the Global Distinction Co-Curricular Committee.