Global Border Crossing is a class that is taught by Dr. Kara Cebulko and Deborah Lopez. To call it a class is a minimization of all that it truly is; the course really opens your eyes to a side of the world from which many PC students are normally sheltered. It’s less about immersion into a community; rather, it prioritizes understanding and engaging with various communities.
This class focuses on immigration while also calling our attention to the significance of borders both in our local Providence community and all around the world. It is predicated upon the notion of “justice across borders,” and students are encouraged to confront the injustice that occurs at most borders in the world. Students are constantly challenged to think critically about the ways in which borders separate, isolate, and structure the ways of life of people on both sides. .
Throughout the semester, students have specifically studied borders involving Israel and Palestine and the border that is shared between the United States and Mexico. Service is a large part of this class, and students flew to San Diego, California, before crossing the US-Mexico border.
Before crossing, students spent a day in San Diego and, while there, they visited Chicano Park. Chicano Park is located in Barrio Logan, which has the oldest Mexican-American community in San Diego. Chicano or Chicana is a chosen identity for those who are Mexican and born in the United States. The park centers itself on pride, and there are many breathtaking murals throughout. . The murals tell stories and expose injustices that have been erased throughout history.
For many students, this trip was their first experience crossing a border by foot. The process was relatively quick. While in Tijuana, students traveled to help build a house for a local family and made significant progress for five days.
Another aspect of this trip was experiencing Mexican culture and customs. Culture can be transmitted in various ways, and one of the students’ favorites was through eating new foods.
One of the most salient parts of the trip was visiting Casa del Migrante, which is a house that offers shelter, food, a psychologist, a social worker, and other services to migrants for up to 45 days. The class met children from Chilé, Honduras, El Salvador, and other parts of Mexico while visiting the house. The goal of the house is to provide protection for those who have been deported, uprooted, are en route, or are seeking refuge. Many people who stay at this house are awaiting immigration appointments to come into the United States and/or documents.
While in Mexico, the class also had the opportunity to visit La Playa and see the border that separates Baja California (Mexico) from the United States. This is a very touristy place and many of the cafes and restaurants have been Americanized. There were many Border Patrol Agents present.
This trip provided a great opportunity for PC students to open their eyes to inequities and new cultural experiences.