April 30, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Photo: Dominique McKee (right) poses with Manager of International Student Services and Exchange Programs at King's, Linda Weber

King’s student Dominique McKee is geared up for an educational and experiential summer abroad. Now that she’s completed her third-year in Psychology and Philosophy, McKee is taking off on Thursday, May 2 to spend three months in Lviv, Ukraine. She will be a participant in an Intercordia Canada experiential learning trip.

Offered through Social Justice and Peace Studies, King’s Intercordia preparation course gave McKee a chance to research life in Ukraine prior to her departure. McKee will be residing with a Ukrainian family and interacting with local communities as she learns about the services offered at L’Arche-Kovcheh Community, an international network of communities for people with development disabilities.

"It is a truly dignifying feature of King's that we offer these programs, especially with our emphasis on Catholic living and the unique availability of our Social Justice and Peace Studies program, which means so much to the students here," says McKee. "By offering experiential learning opportunities King's demonstrates that they value the wholisitc growth of their students.

Once McKee arrives in Lviv, she will choose between five arts and crafts workshops hosted at L’Arche: “Busy Bees”, “Dreamers”, “Znesinnia”, “Nazareth” and “Smiles”. These workshops connect individuals with developmental disabilities with young assistants and volunteers as they develop creative gifts, cultivate a sense of their own worth and recognize the value of their lives.

This experiential learning trip allows McKee to apply what she’s learned in the classroom and understand the impact of community support for those living with disabilities. One way McKee plans to share her Ukrainian experience is to blog about her daily activities and the valuable lessons she takes away from engaging with those in the community. She hopes to promote the Intercordia Canada program to other university students and highlight the incredible work done at L’Arche.

McKee was inspired to take part in this program after a meeting last summer with the founder of L’Arche and co-founder of Intercordia Canada, Jean Vanier.

“Vanier is such an inspirational person that he made me want to get involved right away. He has done so much good work to improve community living for people living with disabilities. I’m definitely looking forward to the day-to-day activities and building relationships with those in the communities. It’s about ‘being with’ instead of ‘working for’ which really appeals to me,” explains McKee.

Founded in 2000 by Vanier and Gilles La Cardinale, Intercordia Canada is a non-profit organization that partners with Canadian universities in order to offer students a unique, university accredited, engaged-learning experience. The goal of this innovative learning program is to encourage moral responsiveness, develop respect for diversity and a valuing of other cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds that will enable Canadian students to attain a well-educated solidarity with others who are different.

For more information on Intercordia Canada, please visit https://intercordiacanada.org/

To learn more about experiential learning trips offered at King's, please contact Manager of International Student Services and Exchange Programs, Linda Weber