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Jamaica offers BW students personal and professional growth

Photo of Megan McVicker and childrenA lot can happen in 10 days. Baldwin Wallace alumna Emma Anderson '19 and current student Megan McVicker '21 studied abroad and volunteered for just 10 days in Jamaica, but the professional and personal development will last far longer.

Anderson and McVicker worked with Jamaica Field Service Project (JAFSP) in local schools and care centers. The music therapy graduate and music education student immersed themselves in Jamaican music, traditions and culture.

"My experience in Jamaica gave me a look into a new culture and life experience," said Anderson. The recent BW graduate learned "the importance of community, music and cultural competency as a future music therapist."

Programs like these also push students out of their comfort zones, and they forge a deeper connection to the work. "This trip was an eye-opening experience … not only do you gain great teaching experience and make connections, but you also learn life skills," said McVicker.

Photo of Emma Anderson dancing with children in JamaicaJAFSP is run by The State University of New York and offers students from across the United States and Canada the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and make an impact on rural communities in Jamaica. Anderson said, "I believe that the JAFSP trips are designed to make us more aware of the world around us and begin conversations in our own communities."

For McVicker, this experience "created memories that will last a lifetime and allowed me to see how powerful music really is." Anderson agreed that this program did not end when she landed back in the United States. "I hope to make my way back someday," said Anderson.

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