Day 1: Travel and Orientation

It was a long day, starting with a 5AM bus departure, a drive to Columbus, two flights, and another bus. We arrived at the Borderlinks space, our residence for the next week, and that was just the beginning.. The stress and exhaustion of the travel experience brought the group closer together. Upon arrival, a lot of people in the group saw previously unbelievable wonders like cactus, the desert, and military jets outside the airport.

Today was the first time this experience has felt real. We’ve only been here for a few hours, but everyone is starting to see that the issues we’ve been talking about in class are real and that we’re here, with them. Over the last couple of months we’ve spent a lot of time talking about themes and the contexts related to borders, but it was helpful to have one succinct conversation about it as a group and with our group leader, Cy.

We spent a large portion of the orientation session learning and listening, but we became much more engaged once we had the chance to start talking in smaller groups and write out our thoughts. We had a thoughtful talk in order to create our “group agreements” with the goal to to plan out our future discussions, make sure everyone feels supported and ensure that this experience will be a positive learning space.

There is a general feeling of curious anticipation. We’ll start really doing the groundwork tomorrow. This is no longer a theoretical experience: it’s actually happening now.

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