"I'm just a student."Oh the beauty of that statement! You'll never know until that season is over... but the carte blanche that comes with the title "student" is truly once in a lifetime. You can go, experience, taste, see. As a student you are clearly there to learn. No other expectations are placed on you. Everyone knows that students are poor, have little influence, and are nomadic in nature.
When you cease to be a "student" (by title), expectations and hopes are raised by your presence. Cultural blunders change from being funny learning opportunities to dangerous offenses.
This has become increasingly clear to us as our opportunities for learning are curtailed by our roles and responsibilities within our organization. When we go somewhere, regardless of OUR motivation, we are viewed as ambassadors of Action International Ministries.
We are so grateful that we had the opportunity as students to sleep in Masaai huts 'on the goat skins,' get bitten by scorpions in the bush without having to worry about orphaning a small herd of children by our impending deaths, watch funerals and weddings wide-eyed without wondering when we would be called upon to give a speech on behalf of the entire mission board, hop into matatus (crowded taxis) without concern for how to get our daughter and her wheelchair from point A to point B.......
Student, don't miss out on a great time of life. Travel. Learn. Encourage others with your humble learner's attitude. You won't change the world on your summer missions' trip, nor should you try to. Come under the leadership of missionaries on the ground and just focus on learning and being a humble, quiet, gentle blessing. Swallow your fears and ask to go on every possible outing. Discreetly take your pepto bismo and eat that rat, swallow that wiggling insect, drink that horchata. Ask questions of your hosts and (...brace yourself...) LISTEN to the answers. When at all possible, put yourself under the leadership of trusted national leaders - those who have the endorsement of your missionaries.
This is your chance.