Our Intercultural Encounter recipients have traveled the world with our bursaries and sent back reports of profound learning, deep engagement, and personal transformation. Here’s a snapshot of just a handful of the people the Centre has supported in recent years.
Danny is training for ordination in the Church of England at Westcott House in Cambridge. An Intercultural Encounter bursary allowed him to spend a month at the Rosebud Native American reservation in South Dakota in the United States. He worked alongside a local priest, preaching, taking services, and assisting in a wide range of social service ministries. He also learned about the history of Christianity among the Lakota people and their current struggle to protect and preserve their environment and cultural heritage in the midst of natural resource development.
“I do not doubt for one moment that this has been the single most formational experience of my entire life.” – Danny
Charlotte is a medical student at Cambridge University. Along with fellow medical student, Stephen, she spent a month working at Mulanje Mission Hospital in southern Malawi. She worked in many wards of the hospital, encountering patients with HIV/AIDS, premature babies, and cancer patients needing palliative care. She learned about how traditional beliefs affects the delivery of modern medicine, had a chance to further her training, and prayed and worshipped with people from many different cultural backgrounds.
“This was my first time in a developing country. It is one thing to know that poverty exists, it is another to see it in real life and it is yet another to become involved (even in a very small way) in the lives of people for whom incredible poverty is a daily accepted reality. I suddenly realised that Jesus is not a white Westerner and it was as if it was the first time this thought had occurred to me.” – Charlotte
Joel grew up in the Cambridge area and spent part of his gap year before university in Blantyre, Malawi. He worked first with a church-based Malawian charity that funds a primary school and is constructing a library. The charity also had a project to which Joel contributed that helps families learn to burn fuel more efficiently. Throughout, he attended church services, prayed with the people he was working alongside, and learned more about the shape of Christianity in this part of the world.
“Being back in England after my time in Malawi I have noticed a lot of changes in myself and also my views about life around me…. I appreciate what I have so much more and I’m able to put my money to far better uses than I did before the trip.” – Joel
Rachel is an undergraduate law student at Cambridge University. She spent time travelling with the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship to learn more about the practice of law in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. She helped run child rights seminars, visited a women’s prison, and met with officials working to advance human rights and combat corruption. She returned to Cambridge to take up a new role with CICCU and encourage others to experience the world church.
“My hopes and expectations were completely surpassed, and God showed me things and taught me things that I certainly wasn’t expecting!” – Rachel
Maggie was a music student at Cambridge University who used an Encounter bursary to attend an international Christian music conference in Thailand and then spent a month in Cambodia with OMF’s ServeAsia short-term mission programme. She worked in a slum area of Phnom Penh teaching music and English lessons to small groups of young people. While there, she lived with a local Cambodian family and joined in their meals and family activities and worshipped in a small church in the community.
“Not being able to communicate easily… showed me how much it is possible to communicate the love of God through showing love, kindness and patience in the way that I was teaching.” – Maggie