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Instructor Introduction – Cam Skinner

Hello Senegal Semester students!

What a privilege to accompany you all during a moment in your lives so poised for wonder and growth. Travel, by definition, presents challenges and demands grit. After all, the word comes from the Middle-French (14th century) travailen, originally meaning “to toil or labor”. While we intend to have a lot of fun, experiential education also presents powerful opportunities to push oneself outside of the comforts of familiarity. Discovering new spaces for spiritual and mental growth, travelers can engage more purposefully with difficult, complex, often unanswerable questions. Prepare to challenge assumptions, stretch imaginations, and suspend judgments. Over the course of our few months in Senegal, I want to encourage you to let life happen to you. You would be surprised how a simple leap of faith can open up infinite worlds.

I have been lucky enough to teach in a lot of different environments and each one has contributed immensely to who I am in a different way. One theme in my teaching career though has been working with students who were born into conflict-affected areas of the world. During college, I taught for a semester in Ayacucho, Peru, the former home of a Maoist terrorist group in the 1980’s called the Sendero Luminoso. In Rwanda teaching ESL with the Peace Corps after college, I taught many students who had been directly impacted by genocide. In New York City, I worked one-on-one with a student who had fled the recent political violence in Venezuela. These experiences in my career have been extremely humbling and have brought new depth to my understanding of the human condition. No doubt I will learn a lot from you all as well.

Please share your thoughts with us as you ready yourselves to explore Senegal. I cannot wait to meet you and learn with you!