I am so excited to embark on this journey in just one short week. As I reflect on the time I have spent preparing for this trip, I feel grateful that things seem to be falling into place. I have spent a lot of time researching Rwanda, reading books about the history of the country, reading articles and watching videos online, and even meeting up with a peer from high school who is Rwandan. I find that the more knowledgeable I am about a new place in the world I am traveling to, the more meaningful the trip is for me. I am struggling to feel well versed in Rwandan history, however, as it is so rich, detailed, and complicated.
This whole opportunity to travel to Rwanda still feels like a dream to me. Traveling to Africa was always such a far-fetched goal of mine, so knowing that I will be on a plane en route to Africa in just one week seems completely surreal to me. I am really excited to dive into this unfamiliar culture and experience it all firsthand by learning from the Rwandan people. I am also really looking forwards to meeting everyone from New York and California. I also feel nervous to join the group. Even though I have been to all the virtual meetings I could, I am nervous to be thrown into the group with everyone. I have no doubt that everyone will be just as welcoming as they have been virtually, but I am anxious about learning drama-based education as I have literally no experience with theater or drama. I know that I will learn quickly, but this will definitely be a giant leap outside of my comfort zone!
I am most looking forward to working with the teachers in Rwanda. I have experienced schooling and the educational setting in the United States, India, and the Dominican Republic, so I cannot wait to see how Rwanda is similar to those places and the ways in which they set themselves apart. I am thrilled to get the chance to interact with and learn from Rwandan teachers, as I anticipate I will learn many important lessons and exchange valuable ideas and strategies between each other. I am also really excited to learn the drama-based education method and plan ways that I can incorporate it into my own future classroom.
About the Author
My name is Amanda, and I am thrilled to be joining you all on this exciting journey! I heard about this opportunity through the lovely Gabrielle, and it was an opportunity I couldn't refuse. I am a dual major in Middle School Math Education and Psychology with a minor in Spanish, and I am a Columbia, Missouri native, so I attend college a far 10 minute drive from my childhood home. As much as I love Missouri, I want to broaden my world-view through personal experiences as much as possible. I spent my summer in India observing and working alongside a Middle School Math teacher and realized my passion for international education. I spent my winter break in the Dominican Republic working in classrooms and teaching English to students of all ages. My thirst for international educational opportunities has only grown stronger, so when Gabrielle told me about this experience in Rwanda, I couldn't say no. I have two main hopes to get out of this trip. The first is to collaborate and learn from teachers in Rwanda to become a better teacher and human. The second goal I have is to learn a very different approach to teaching mathematics through drama-based learning. I have no experience in this realm and I'm excited and nervous to break out of my comfort zone to learn and practice drama-based education.