Six aspiring volunteer-leaders from Tzu Chi University in Hualien, Taiwan, have concluded their three-week journey to SJC Brooklyn, where they took part in a specially curated curriculum, Humanities of New York.
“The charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s calls to love our neighbors and to share God’s love with all,” said Peter Lin, Ph.D., professor of psychology at SJC Brooklyn. “Likewise, the mission of the Buddhist Tzu Chi University is to spread loving-kindness through the teaching and expression of humanistic values.
“By bringing SJC’s unique proficiency in cross-cultural learning and the liberal arts, our community of learners was able to provide the visiting Tzu Chi volunteers with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to prepare them to be mindful, ethical globally focused leaders,” Dr. Lin added.
The program schedule struck a balance between academic rigor and experiential learning, with each three-hour class session corresponding to a visit to a New York City cultural site. The Tzu Chi guests visited The Met, the Guggenheim Museum, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Rubin Museum, among other sites.
Among the special highlights was a trip to SJC Long Island and a tour of the Sisters of St. Joseph motherhouse in Brentwood. The Tzu Chi students enjoyed a lecture on how globally popular fairy tales have their roots in universal concepts of social justice.
Along with these academic undertakings, the volunteers took walking tours of the city, watched a professional baseball game and were afforded numerous opportunities to explore the city on their own.
“Our three-week journey has shown us the artistic richness and cultural diversity of New York; the museums, the attractions and the classroom sessions all left a powerful impression upon all of us,” said Angela Tsai, Ph.D., section chief of international affairs at Tzu Chi University. “The students especially found the teaching methodology and styles of the SJC professors engaging and lively. These lessons inspired them to be more effective student-leaders.”