Preparing for a Global Service-Learning Trip to Israel

Every year during Winterim Nyack College sends groups of students to different parts of the world to study different regions and cultures. These trips are called Global Service-Learning trips (Or GS-L Trips). They are led by professors and faculty members that are very familiar with the region to which the group is traveling, and they are both educational and exciting. The trips are offered at a reasonable price and are most often taken for course credit. I am fortunate enough to be able to go on a GS-L trip to Israel during the Winterim of the 2013-2014 school year. I am looking forward to exploring the biblical lands and studying the culture of its inhabitants. Here are some tips that helped me to prepare for my GS-L trip.

If you are considering going on a GS-L trip, then start planning for it early on in the school year. There are various deadlines that must be met for applications and payments, and you do not want to be caught unaware or unprepared when the time comes to deal with these things. The prices for the GS-L trips are very reasonable, but they still cost a significant amount of money. Sit down with your financial aid counselor to decide whether or not the trip is in your budget and what the best way is to pay for it. The office of Student Financial Services is very helpful for students with financial concerns about the GS-L trips. Keep in mind that you can help to raise money for your trip by asking for financial support from local churches and businesses. Thankfully I was able to make each payment for my trip to Israel, and Student Financial Services helped me through every step of the way.

The most important thing to remember when preparing for a GS-L trip is that it is a class. This means that pen-and-paper assignments will no doubt be incorporated with the GS-L trip experience. This may involve work before, during, and/or after stepping onto the plane. Before going to Israel I was required to read a book, write a report, and study a series of maps. The good thing about all of this work, though, is that it familiarizes the traveler with the ins and outs of the land to which they travel. Through the readings and exercises I did for my Israel trip I became very familiar with the geographical layout of the biblical lands. If you are planning to go on a GS-L trip, do not forget that the trip is not a vacation and that you will be doing real work and learning while in other countries. Do not let this discourage you from taking the opportunity to go on one of these trips, though, because the work that they entail is far outweighed by the incredible experience that the trips are.

It is one thing to read about a civilization in a book or an article, but visiting and exploring that civilization is something entirely different. To have a hands-on experience at a sight that may be read of in a text book or in Scripture makes the place more memorable and more meaningful. Global Service-Learning offers this opportunity to have a hands-on experience.

Pierce VanDunk

About Pierce VanDunk

I'm a Junior at Nyack College studying Bible and Theology. I love Jesus, which is why I want to be a Bible professor; my goal is to learn as much as I can about Him and teach others what I learn. My favorite teams are the Mets, Celtics, and Cowboys (don't hate me New Yorkers!). I also enjoy playing guitar and reading. Connect with Pierce on Google+
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