Pictured: International students traveled to Philadelphia over spring break to distribute care packages to the homeless at a women’s shelter. Photo by NYIT student Gabriel Garcez.
Twelve international students traveled to Philadelphia over spring break to distribute care packages to the homeless at a women’s shelter. The students were accompanied by Karen Johnson, assistant director of International Education at NYIT-Long Island, and Christopher Olagunju, associate director of International Education at NYIT-New York City.
“Many international students don’t get to go home over our winter and spring break, so this tends to be a time where homesickness sets in,” said Luzia K. Ogureck, associate director of Experiential Education. “NYIT has always provided activities in and around New York City to get students engaged and distracted from the holiday blues. To make the experience even more meaningful, we decided to start theming the activities around the work we do—bringing students together through service, civic engagement, and intercultural communication.”
The students prepared the packages before they left for the daylong trip on March 19. They also wrote heartwarming notes to include with each one.
“I have seen many homeless people and given them a dollar at times,” said NYIT student Paneri Sunil Shelar. “But it never occurred to me what I should say [to] make them feel better. This was an awesome experience for all of the NYIT students and we are looking forward to more events.”
The group also participated in many activities, including a selfie scavenger hunt where the students had the opportunity to explore the city, visit various landmarks and learn about the people who helped form the United States. The eventful day ended with dinner at a downtown restaurant that donates a portion of sales to the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The trip left an impression on all of the students. “Normally, when going on a trip we tend to cluster around people from similar backgrounds to make it easier to communicate or to feel more at home while traveling,” said NYIT student Gabriel Garcez. “However, this trip has proven otherwise. Walking around the city with people from different backgrounds and cultures has shown me how much we can learn when pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.”