Choosing a program that would give me liberty to engage with the REAL people and place where I studied was my goal. I never dreamed Go ED. would go above and beyond this expectation, impacting my life for years to come. It did.
It is often said that the best "development work" is accomplished through walking a mile in the shoes of the recipients or beneficiaries, not just inviting them to participate but truly depending on them to both partner and inform the work and process. It is this togetherness that leads to impact with dignity for all involved. It is that "walk a mile in their shoes" approach that results in something deeper than just project outcomes.
With this approach at its core, the Go ED. Study Abroad semester in Rwanda challenges students' worldviews. It supports them in the process of dismantling the former and distilling the new, resulting in a transformed posture altogether. This is achieved through confronting some of the harshest realities of the human condition through close academic study, first-hand educational experiences, and engagement with both glaring poverty and vibrant culture - as if you literally stepped into the shoes of an East African man or woman.
The Go. ED program ultimately left me with a new value system. Values that transcend culture; values that anchor oneself in authentic solidarity with the little understood nor appreciated majority of the world - those too often just labeled as "the poor". It was as a result of these values, the overall experience and education of Go ED., and resulting transformation I underwent that led me back to Rwanda to partner with people there to create a successfully operating social business.
Without the Go ED. Study Abroad Semester, I would not be the same person I am today, with the tremendous privilege to apply what I've learned, producing fruit far beyond what I ever dreamed it would bear!