Maeve Kirby '14
Majors: International Studies, Religion
Pittsburgh, Pa. | Upper St. Clair High School
Summer 2014 Update: Maeve is serving as an Americorps VISTA at Southern Connecticut State University.
A huge part of what attracted me to Susquehanna University was the GO Program. I think everyone should have a cross-cultural experience because immersing yourself in another culture allows a whole new level of learning to take place.
Since becoming a student here, I’ve traveled to several places and worked with people who I might never have had the opportunity to know otherwise. These experiences have taught me that there aren’t many differences between Pittsburgh and Managua, Nicaragua, or Belfast, Northern Ireland.
There is nothing like communicating with someone by drawing in the dirt while you’re trying to build an addition on a house to teach you that language and differences don’t have to be a barrier! With small gestures, laughter and smiles, we were able to get the work done and we ended up sharing and learning from one another in ways not offered to me in the classroom.
I learned that differences are forgotten when you are working together for a common good. In these setting we weren’t a group of Americans helping students in Northern Ireland or families in Nicaragua, were just people, helping one another.
My experiences abroad have harmoniously emphasized my passions for both service and people, and have encouraged me to explore the world of non-profit work as a possible career path.
I would encourage all students to look into the assortment of service-learning opportunities in Susquehanna’s GO Program. They take normal service above and beyond by examining the source of the problem and how we can collectively work on a long-term solution instead of a temporary or immediate fix.
The world has so much to teach us, we can’t simply expect it to bring all that knowledge to us. We have to go out there and find it for ourselves.
My experiences have shown me that there are so many benefits to travel. In the words of travel writer Pico Iyer, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.”
What Is Susquepedia?
Suhs-kwuh-pee-dee-uh (n): A collection of experiences, topics, and personalities that makes Susquehanna University unique.