Community building by crossing lines

As a traveling classroom, the 28 of us spend immense amount
of time together. We have class from 9-5 every day, and then we to our
homestays with some of our classmates. Obviously, this takes a toll on the
group dynamic. In anticipation of this tension, we have community building
every other week. From playing games, having serious conversations, sharing about
our personal experiences, and even planning ahead, 30 of us get together for
about 2 hrs. and work on living and traveling as a group. I’m in agreement with
the necessity of this time, but understand the toll that it takes on other
individuals.

Last week, one of our activities was “Cross the
Line.” You know, the group activity where people stand before a line and
cross it when there’s a certain statement that pertains to your identity. Some
of the questions that were asked were:

Cross the line if:

  • You go to a private university.
  • You come from a working class family.
  • You identify as a Catholic.
  • You identify as Atheist.
  • You’ve felt lonely on this trip.

Among others.

It was very interesting to see what people identify with,
and to say the least… at times I was surprised. It was a great activity,
especially because we’ve known each other for about 6 weeks. It was better with
this much time passing rather than doing this activity at the very beginning,
so as to give us some time to get to know one another without labels.

I’m surrounded by great individuals who are very passionate
about Public Health, Global Health, and social issues – I love it. I’ve learned
so much more, and had amazing experiences and conversations with my fellow
IHP-ers.

Photo Credit: Sarah Bennett

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