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This week, Verto London student Jasmine Tuetkin shares about how her classes and excursions with Verto have exposed her to new perspectives and helped her develop compassion. 

*** This is an example of a student’s experience from Fall 2021. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.

Tuning back in to put a little light on what has been happening these past few weeks here in London.

Recently two field excursions have occurred within the last two weekends consecutively. Both were very interesting and aided me to learn more about British culture.

This past week, citizens here in the UK wore red poppy flower pins, this is because they were celebrating Remembrance Day for those who served the country. Since here in the UK they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving day, they instead celebrate the lives of patriotic men and women. A tradition I have picked up is, of course, afternoon tea consisting of sandwiches, bread, and tea.

Despite the UK not having a wonderful holiday such as Thanksgiving back at home, this doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of holidays that are amazing as well. And the other world cultures too, I’m sure, as I’ve heard from fellow Trailblazers in other Verto locations.

Learning more about the traditions, holidays, and what makes Britain, has guided me to give more compassion to world cultures in general.

On the topic of compassion, I felt a strong sense of compassion when a homeless man approached us not begging for money but for our time to listen to his writings and gave us the option to help him to pay for a home. He was well educated in liberal arts and the recitation of his poem he wrote was very impactful as he described a war-torn country looking for liberation and harmony, that has misplaced so many who are in search of the same.

I related his poem to one of my courses here in London, where we learn about refugees and asylums as countries have internal warfares and experience a struggle for justice. With a persuaded heart I gave him what change I had in my coin purse in hopes that he will be able to find himself a home and well-paying job as he is pursuing. The compassion for him, and those not being able to return home, was very strong as I commend them for their bravery, and will to find shelter.

My overly critical nature makes it challenging for me to be compassionate at times because I can’t be naive to every situation that I encounter, and sometimes that means passing my judgment on people. But I have discovered that my peers also show compassion even to the most skeptical scenes and they also experience the same difficulties I have when it comes to compassion as they are stuck in the same situation.

But we can learn from each other to always be compassionate and initiate that compassion. Understanding this has become one of the most important lessons in my character development, and when I go back home I will be able to apply what I have learned to my new surroundings.

By applying what I have learned about compassion, I can share my story with my friends and family back at home, and when I attend Baylor for the Spring semester, I will then be able to share my experience with fellow peers and new friends in hopes they will have takeaways and can apply it themselves to their own lives.

I have learned so much about compassion and experienced such compassionate relationships with my care team here.  My program staff Sarah and Andrea have been absolutely a wonderful touch base for academics and just questions I have in general. In return, I have learned to trust them with any issues, inquiries, and just someone to look for when things are disastrous, and they are the people that I can confide in to aid and guide me.

The compassion that I feel from them as they sit there patiently listening and providing assistance and advice is very admirable and I commend them for it.

They are an example of the compassionate people that I have come to know and have been inspired by during my time here in London.

As I reflect on my time with Verto, I notice how much has happened. The countless people I have met, cultures I have explored and memories I have made will forever hold an impact in transforming me into the person I am today.

Being with Verto has equipped me with the skills and strengths I need to navigate through the challenges life throws at me. I feel a newfound sense of excitement to explore the world and continue constantly moving. Being adaptable to whatever life throws at me and growing from every opportunity I am given will also help me in my future endeavors.

So while many things presented themselves as challenges at first, I now look back at them as fond memories that have led me to become the person I am today.