Leaving Too Soon

Students on Goshen College’s Study Service Term in Tanzania begin their journey home.

As many of you have heard, we will be leaving Tanzania early because of the increasing restrictions on international travel due to COVID-19.  This is so hard, since our students are really feeling a sense of purpose and belonging in their current host family and service placements.  We are struggling to find ways to help our students remember their SST experience in a way that is not clouded by being abruptly taken away from it all.

This is where you can help.  Give our students a little space to adjust to the abrupt cultural change they will inevitably face; culture-shock goes both ways, as well as the fact that they are entering a very different reality back home.  Ask them about specific experiences they had during their time here, not just focusing on their quick exit out of Tanzania (you can use the blog posts as your guide to conversations).  They may not want to talk right away, or they may want to spill it all; just let them.  They need you to listen, to sit with them, maybe to cry with them…there will be a wide range of possible emotions to follow this kind of experience.  Just watch for their cues and be patient.

Wrapping it up, I want to say “THANK YOU” for being our support system, our village, our tribe.  Without you we could not be who we are today.

Side note:

We visited the students in their service placements over the last several days.  I was hoping to post pictures and a brief description of what they are doing.  I will still do that, but it may not happen before our students are on their way back home.  Thank you for understanding.