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2nd Annual International Office Spring Break Service Trip to Memphis, Tennessee

Modified: April 4, 2016
IO in Memphis

2016 marked the 2nd Annual International Office Spring Break Service Trip to Memphis, Tennessee. This program aims to broaden perceptions of American culture for international graduate students by cultivating a foundational, experiential context for social issues through service-learning. In collaboration with campus units and community partnerships built in Memphis, the International Office was able to continue this program with a new group of bold and curious students.

 The 2016 #IOinMemphis (as the program is followed on social media), represented 5 countries (India, China, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine), and a variety of schools, including Law, Kellogg, McCormick, Medill, and TGS. Service projects aimed to provide a foundation for issues impacting communities, working with organizations who are trying to develop solutions to challenges facing their city. Activities illuminated topics including food deserts, urban education, criminal justice, HIV/AIDS, and community organizing. Students impressed host organizations throughout their stay with thoughtful questions, insights and enthusiasm.

Students also explored southern culture with visits to Sun Studios, Graceland, the pyramid, Peabody Hotel, Beale Street, Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, and the National Civil Rights Museum, and enjoyed great food and music. From this immersive program, the International Office has, and continues to develop, along with the Graduate International Student Association, programs aimed at providing a nuanced cross-cultural opportunity to learn about and engage in issues. As some of the 2016 #IOinMemphis students observed, “I began our trip with ten strangers but ended up having ten best partners and friends. From the experience, I witnessed income disparity, literacy problems but also saw how people are constantly making changes to the situation. I see love, help, generosity and caring.” “The volunteer trip in Memphis is really meaningful and worthwhile, which will be one of my unforgettable memories. Hope we still have chance to do more activities like this.”

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