Intercordia Canada gives young Canadians the opportunity to see and know the world in a different way….through the eyes of their heart. Intercordia invites all of us to become peacemakers by choosing to meet people in their community, to live in their homes, work with them side by side and especially to slow down and hear their life stories. When we get to know people and experience both the beauty and pain of their lives we will become less judgemental and more compassionate. In our fast, efficient, western societies we have so much to learn from those who live radically different lives than our own….we just need to be humble enough to “be with” them and listen.
Intercordia is a unique program that enables students to ground their commitment to social change in relationships not just ideals. This grounding makes it possible for students to hold together the beauty experienced in the people and places they encounter on their placements with the pain of social inequity they witness directly. Students discover that it is possible, in the midst of suffering, for something redemptive to surface while at the same time discover that it is crucial not to romanticize the ugliness of poverty and injustice. It’s been a privilege to witness students working through feelings of paralysis and becoming agents of change in their personal lives and the wider community because of the groundedness given by their experience with Intercordia.
Intercordia focuses on the power of being rooted in relationships with “the other” and in the rhythm of everyday life, with all its struggles and gifts. Meeting Intercordia students and hearing their stories brings me so much life and energy; I am filled with hope for the future of our community and of our world as I learn about their desire for relationships and experiences with people and a world radically different from what they have known. Being a part of Intercordia inspires me as I live my own life and strive to be a peacemaker.
I was brought to Intercordia from my interest in international development, education and learning in community. I have found Intercordia to be an incredible space to explore the intersections of these three things. I am working with amazing people and am enjoying the opportunity to meet students who are willing to take risks and who are committed to change. I am continually moved! I am honored to be a part of this journey with students and to attempt to facilitate their learning.
As a university student, I was involved in various peace and justice issues. I learned a lot through reading, researching and working alongside like-minded people. But there came a time when university life started to feel too insular and my ideas too abstract. I needed a “shake-up.” Intercordia provides students an opportunity to encounter an entirely new culture and form relationships with people whose lives and personal stories are radically different from their own. That we are able to see and understand with our eyes and our hearts is key to a true and just peace. Supporting young people who are open to this challenge gives me great joy and hope.
Each person has so much beauty to offer this world. For some, the challenge is to recognize that beauty in themselves. For many, the challenge is to see the beauty in others - especially others who are so different from themselves.
Intercordia offers us all the opportunity to explore ourselves, discover a new part of the world, make meaningful relationships, expand our horizons and shift the boundaries of our comfort zone. I have been a part of the social justice movement for fifteen years, and over that time I have worn a number of different hats. From this experience, I am convinced that in order to effect change, we must first build solid relationships, and the way to do this is through respect. With that firm foundation, we can do beautiful things to make this world a better place. It is an honour to be a part of this process with Intercordia.
Intercordia provides opportunities for young people to deepen their awareness of themselves, their culture, and the immense diversities which exist in the world. As my own travels have greatly impacted me, my relationships, and how I live my life, I feel privileged to be a part of an organization which invites young people to engage in such life-changing experiences. Intercordia is wise in its conviction that simply being with people and giving of oneself is the greatest gift with the most lasting impact and honest in its recognition that there is both joy and struggle along the way. Individuals who choose to walk an unknown path such as this one are brave and inspiring, and I am grateful to be able to share the journey with them.
My Intercordia experience challenged me to step beyond my black and white perceptions of our complicated world! I lived a very different existence for three months and it changed my life path and the way I act in our world. I was so deeply touched by the struggle of those living in the Global South and felt the call to continue to volunteer and work in Latin America with not-for-profit organizations and am currently a PhD candidate at York University studying disability and human rights in Latin America. Personally, I am a more active and engaged world citizen and am constantly aware of how my actions here in Canada can impact, in positive and in negative ways, those living in the Global South. I like to say that Intercordia opened my heart and my eyes too wide to go back to the person I was before I was involved in Intercordia!
Intercordia has offered me so many opportunities for self-reflection and growth. In my roles as participant, Mentor and now Campus Rep I have learned deeply about myself by living, working and being with others. For me, this is the beauty of Intercordia. The Intercordia program provides an opportunity for students to become more thoughtful and aware of themselves, others and the world through the building of meaningful connections with others. It challenges them to recognize their own limits and the gift of simply being with people through places of struggle, suffering. I am so grateful for the continued opportunities to be a part of Intercordia.
We often say that education will change the way people live and make the world a better place. I think that if education is ever going to change anything, it has to go beyond the mere consumption of information and become something that makes us better citizens and better human beings. This is a choice that we can make! Will we allow ourselves to become educated human beings, with knowledge, but also understanding, compassion and an open heart? Intercordia is an exciting program because it nurtures this possibility through relationships and being with others. It can be a way of working towards a more compassionate and caring society, starting with me—and you!
I have multiple ways of working out my personal vocation in the world through relationships, including being a mother, a wife, a friend, a member of the L’Arche community in Saskatoon, an Anglican priest and now, a campus rep for Intercordia at STM College.