May 23, 2024

Intensive Training Weekend was just that — intensive training, according to junior biology major Tessa Brown. That was the consensus of International Service Project and United States Project participants from four different backgrounds: one who has never been out of the country, one who has never done ISP previously, an ISP veteran and the daughter of overseas workers.

Students gathered at the mock-airport terminal on Friday, Jan. 30, to depart to Ispland, the imaginary country invented for the simulation. They were met by foreign airport security who immediately plunged them into the cross-cultural experience of ITW.

Brown, who has never been out of the country before, is going to East Asia with her team. She said that her experience with ITW was both frustrating and enlightening. Having only spent time in the United States, Brown was not previously aware of factors that could come into play during the course of the project, but ITW helped to rectify that.

The entire process made her more motivated and it showed her what to expect overseas. In fact, ITW over-prepares you, Brown said.

Each of the four students admitted that the Mobilization team in the Office of Spiritual Life constructed situations that participants were not likely going to encounter on their projects, but nonetheless, it was good preparation.

The thorough training that the Mobilization team provides is designed to equip students to handle the variety of conditions that they could experience in their respective countries.

Leah Schar, freshman marketing major, is going to Central Asia. Although this is her first year with ISP, Schar is no stranger to international travel, as she grew up overseas. She said she was young when she observed the training her parents went through for their work, but she recalled that it was similar to ITW.

Schar said the opportunity to spend 48 hours with her team brought them all closer.

That is a common occurrence, said Brent DeBord, senior health science major, who has done ISP all four years he has attended California Baptist University.

DeBord is going to East Asia on Summer of Service. He said that some aspects of ITW were different from prior years, but the experience as a whole was ultimately similar and accomplished the same goal of training students to work in their various settings.

Aquila Hopkinson, junior chemistry major, has never been on ISP before, and she is going to East Asia with her team.

Hopkinson said her experience with ITW was enriching.

When she first arrived in Ispland, Hopkinson said she was unprepared to confront the display of different cultures.

She said the interaction made her more aware of the gap between American and cultures overseas.

Hopkinson agreed with her peers that the weekend, with its various training exercises and scenarios, was more than adequate provision.

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