Here's a fairly rough draft of my supplement for Villanova. The question and essay are below. Any advice or comments is greatly appreciated. Thanks! I really appreciate it!
***The "-------" are locations I took out for privacy reasons.One of the principles of Villanova, as an Augustinian university founded on the teachings of St. Augustine, is that students and faculty learn from each other. As you imagine yourself as a member of the Villanova community, what is one lesson that you have learned in your life that you will want to share with others?
"Justice begins with Awareness." True to this mantra, (my high school), through the incredible immersion program, spreads students across the continent to learn about and aid those in need. Students put into action the ethical values and the concepts of justice they learn in class, helping the handicapped of Tacoma, immigrants of Nogales, and the homeless of ----------.
After an extensive application, interviews, and community service requirements, I was admitted to the immersion program. Trip Discovery Night arrived as I pondered where I would be traveling for the following summer. Admittedly, I was nervous about traveling outside of the United States; therefore, I wanted the New Orleans Trip. Anxiously waiting for the announcement, I questioned myself about the possible experiences. Would I be able to sleep in just a sleeping bag in a -------- People's Park? What if I stayed in ---------, and served homeless at the St. ----------s Dining Hall? Finally, we split into smaller groups to learn which trip we would attend. The first clue, pupusas, gave it away: I would be traveling to El Salvador.
I had several meetings with my small group and moderators to learn more about the trip. Slowly, I eased into the idea of leaving America. Then, I needed to determine the activities of the trip. With all of the others, I had some idea. ---------- worked with the homeless, and Nogales dealt with Illegal immigration, but what about El Salvador?
I never completely understood the purpose until the end of the first week of the trip. We listened to countless presentations from different organizations established after the Salvadoran Civil War, toured several churches, and visited schools. After all these activities, I still did not understand why I came. My group did not build houses, or feed the homeless. We just listened.
After traveling to my homestay in Guarjila, I swung in a Hammock listening to my host mother's stories of the Civil War. She described the helicopter spotlights, mortars, and total chaos. Then, it dawned on me. The El Salvador Trip is not a service trip, but the truest form of Immersion. My classmates and I did not come to physically help people, but to learn about their struggles and challenge ourselves to understand the different culture.
If I could teach one lesson that I have learned, I would share the importance of immersing oneself in a new culture, and challenging oneself by pushing personal boundaries. From my experiences in El Salvador, I realized it is foolish to ruminate in one's familiarities. In order to grow and understand, I must venture "out." It can be outside my country, or just outside of my comfort zone. In both instances, I gain an awareness about myself and the world to push myself toward a life of justice.