Nate Heinz '13: Border Immersion Trip Reflection

Recently, outstanding Communication Studies Senior Nate Heinz went on the Social Justice Living-Learning Community’s Border Immersion Trip, where he served as a student leader on the day-long immersive experience for students and faculty. Nate is a Preceptorial Assistant for Dr. Bowman’s Introduction to Human Communication freshman preceptorial, and had much to reflect upon after the social justice-themed immersion trip:

"The immersion trip was simply a one-of-a-kind experience. We first visited the breathtaking Friendship Park, which was not breathtaking for any aesthetic reasons (although the park does overlook the ocean), but because we saw, up-close and personal, the fence that has become the root of so much tragedy and strife within the United States and Mexico. Even more surreal however, was seeing the interaction of family members who were unable to fully greet and embrace each other personally, and instead did so through on either side of a thin, metal fence.

We then traveled to the parking lot of a Home Depot and actually met some of the workers who had been ripped apart from their families in order to find work in the United States. Some of them left home and traveled on their own to the U.S. at the young age of 8 years old. I thought back to my childhood, and recollected the terror of being lost inside of a Wal-Mart at that age, let alone travelling to another country on my own. I’ll never forget what one of the workers said in regard to idea of finding a better opportunity in the U.S. He said, “the American dream is just that- a dream.”

Lastly, went to a local church that many workers attended and had sought refuge in in the past. After spending the kind of day that we had, and experiencing the emotionally affecting events that we did, the ceremony was nothing short of extraordinary. It was a beautiful way to end an incredible day. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes and headed home physically exhausted, but emotionally (and perhaps spiritually) uplifted.

For anyone who is open to new experiences, and would consider opening their heart and mind in an eye opening, emotionally confronting way, I cannot recommend an immersion trip any more."

~  Nate Heinz '13