Joe Alexander-Short

BY GUEST BLOGGERSeptember 14, 2014

by: Joe Alexander-Short | Santa Clara University ’14

Editor’s Note: The following is a brief reflection on the video below produced by Joe.  He was a student at Santa Clara University’s Casa de la Solidaridad program in Fall of 2013.

Joe Alexander-Short“For those of you unfamiliar with the Casa de la Solidaridad model of study abroad, it’s a program born 15 years ago of El Salvador where it’s four pillared model of Community living, Accompaniment, Spirituality and Academics works to teach students about the national reality and support them in all that ensues.

I can’t say how many times throughout the semester that I was wow’d with appreciation for the program’s staff and its model which allowed for a wholeness of self and a truth of experience that I’d always sense operated underneath my daily life, but that I’d never been able to live in.

During class one day in the middle of my semester we were asked to send emails to any friends who might be interested in the program to consider applying for the coming year. That night at dinner my marketing major housemate said, “I don’t know if any of this will work- it’s a hard sell.” I gave her a bit of a dirty look, “We all know how incredible this program is. It makes you more human, and who wouldn’t want that?” She responded, “Yeah, but what’s so special about it isn’t something you can explain. You need to see and feel it.” After that conversation I ordered some camera parts to be mailed to soon arriving visitors then kept my camera rolling whenever possible. I figured where words have failed to communicate art has always filled in the gap, and maybe I could put together a video with an artistic quality.

After using some of the footage in a final project for class, Casa’s co-director Kevin asked if I could make something longer to use for promotion- without knowing I’d had this hope for a while.

While it’s not your typical promotional video, I hope that Ian and Sully’s reflections offer a bit of insight into how special this program really is. And as I wrote to my friends in those emails, “Just go. Seriously.”

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