While I have never taken any sort of post-secondary education, I feel like I was gifted with an opportunity to learn through Canadian Mennonite University's "Outtatown" program. Over the last year and a half, I've donated my time to film three new promotional videos for the program.
A major perk of these video projects included traveling to South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Guatemala this past winter. These were more than just exotic filming trips, they gave me a glimpse into what the Outtatown program was all about. While I had a camera to my face for the majority of these trips, every once in a while I was able to set it down and soak in the experiences.
I know it may sound a bit to cliché to talk about how traveling changes you as a person, but it is really so true. Until you leave your bubble, you have absolutely no clue what is going on in other parts of the world, yes you can watch a video, but a video can only do so much. You can't breathe in the orange dusts from the ever dusty West African road, you can't taste the best homemade South African biltong (jerky) you've ever tasted, and you can't experience how useless you feel being in Guatemala or Burkina Faso where English isn't their primary language. These are just a few examples, but above all the experiences I've witnessed a love that transcends language and culture. After each of these trips I felt nothing but grateful for the life I have received.
Here is Outtatown's mission statement:
Our mission is to inspire and nurture students in their life of discipleship with Jesus Christ in a journey towards:
Knowing God: in truth and relationship Knowing Yourself: in personality, character, abilities, and gifts. Knowing the World: in its beauty, diversity and pain.
While I haven't experienced any similar programs to compare this to, I have nothing but positive things to say about Outtatown. I really appreciate the structure they have developed. Instead of entering communities and thinking they are going to change things, they observe, experience the culture, and join in with the good work that is already happening. Along the way they also get to go on some pretty ridiculous adventures... bungee jump, hike a volcano, eat caterpillars dipped in hot-sauce, shark-diving, and many more.
I may not have any official post-secondary education, but through my 5 weeks on location with Outtatown I feel as though my knowledge of God, myself, and the world has most definitely changed.
If you're out of high school and looking for something to do for before university or working, I highly recommend checking out the program. The first half of the program you spend traveling Canada, the second half you get to travel somewhere sweet (South Africa, Burkina Faso, or Guatemala), all while learning, serving, adventuring...and you even get some university credits!
I was not asked to write this, just my honest opinion after experiencing a few short glimpses into this program.
Enough talking! Here are the three videos I produced. Thanks for listening to my ramblings! Like I said, videos won't do justice, but this is my best shot! For more info check out: www.outtatown.com