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Service learning program runs May 31 – July 26

While many of her fellow students will be returning to jobs and catching some rays this summer, Kristen Tyler ’10 (Rancho Palos Ve, Calif.) will be tackling social injustice in Santiago, Chile.

Tyler will be traveling May 31 – July 26 with a community-based learning (CBL) program at La Universidad Alberto Hurtado that combines academics with community service. Students are taught the theory and practice behind social change and social justice processes and partner with nonprofit organizations to address the needs of poor or disadvantaged residents of the community.

“I seek to broaden my perspective of the world and gain experiences that will combine intellectual reflection and practical action in the community,” explains Tyler. “I wish to work with the poor to overcome the barrier of seeing them as ‘others.’ I want real life interaction with people because just reading about poverty and development in Chile from the U.S. is not enough. I believe that engaged personal experiences with others will frame my outlook and provide me with a transformative experience.”

Students of the program will be immersed in Spanish culture as all of the courses will be taught in Spanish. Students will be living with Chilean families and they will only receive credit for the course if they communicate in Spanish for the duration of the trip.

Tyler is currently in the process of crafting her own individualized major called, social justice and equality, and has a prominent interest in liberation theology, which she plans to research for her senior thesis. She plans to utilize this trip to Chile, where this movement had its beginnings, to further her academic pursuits.

“I want to understand how poor people are mired in poverty and analyze the Church’s role in promoting and curbing that unfairness,” says Tyler. “As Catholic priests started this movement in Latin America, studying at La Universidad Alberto Hurtado, which was named after the Saint famous for his Hogar de Cristo program, and taking Religion and Society – one of the courses offered by the program, are perfect ways to further my knowledge of the history and current efforts of this movement.”

Tyler, who currently plans to attend law school upon graduation, is a member of the varsity swim team and Lafayette’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is the multicultural affairs chair for the student government association, placing her also on the student/faculty committee for diversity and interfaith council.

She was an orientation leader for incoming students in September and is currently a resident advisor, a peer mentor for student athletes, a volunteer swim coach for the Warren Arc Special Olympics, and the newly elected fundraising and community outreach team leader for Lafayette’s Engineers Without Borders. During Spring Break, she will be traveling on an Alternative School Break to the Gulf Coast through the College’s Landis Community Outreach Center.

  • Government & Law
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Landis Community Outreach Center
  • Study Abroad
  • Service Learning
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