In a recent post on the Tufts Hillel Repairs the World blog, Annie Lobel (A’11) tells of her junior year abroad in Rwanda and Northern Uganda. With a special interest in genocide awareness, education and prevention, Annie became immersed in Rwandan culture. Living with a host family and connecting with people whose lives were profoundly changed by the 1994 genocide, Lobel’s experience was life-changing on various levels. She writes about taking action in her own community after such an experience:
Let me tell you – returning to Tufts was not easy. It was a bit isolating even. I knew I had changed but my world at home had not changed very much. What I had thought was a “perfect fit” at home no longer fit as perfectly as I remembered. Reverse culture shock returning to the States was way harder than the culture shock when I first left home. When my peers would ask me “how was abroad?” no one sentence answer was ever satisfying to me. There was so much I wanted to communicate to my friends, peers, and family, and the frustration that no one would even begin to understand where I was coming from was frustrating and disheartening. I did realize that the frustration was not productive unless I turned it into something. People were trying to understand, they just needed guidance. Ever since I returned to Tufts I felt this need to take action, to do something about all of this, to educate my peers and help make them want to learn more, and to help other people understand that this should not happen again – we cannot let it happen again.
It was incredible to return to Tufts and eventually find and connect to like-minded students and to put together the Tufts Against Genocide (TAG) Committee with the incredible support of Tufts Hillel and the inspiration of the Cummings Challenge.
You can read more about Tufts Against Genocide and the Cummings Challenge here.