Students find ‘honor’ in annual Jamaican mission trip


A mission trip abroad isn’t typically part of a college curriculum, but Bloomsburg University’s Honors Program makes sure its students have just that opportunity.

Each year, honors students travel to Jamaica to build houses for underprivileged families and communities. This trip gives students the chance to expand their world views, learn more about Jamaican culture, and see what it’s like in a developing country.

Rachel Yenney, a junior physics major, was among eight students on the mission trip this winter — the program’s first outside of spring break, which enabled this group to stay longer and engage in Jamaican culture more. It was Yenney’s second mission trip out of the country but first with the Honors Program.

“You can learn about poverty and other cultures in a classroom, but you will never truly understand a culture or their living conditions until you completely immerse yourself in it,” said Yenney, adding she was humbled by how happy most Jamaicans were despite their lack of food, available water, and stable housing.

The trip opened her eyes to how fortunate she is and how people need to focus more on living life with others, rather than just obsessing about material things.

“I feel like the trip has helped me learn to appreciate everything a lot more than I used to,” Yenney said.

Yenney plans on continuing to get involved with the less fortunate and even wants to get into a regular routine of helping out in her local community. In the future, she would like to go back to Jamaica several more times and get others involved in the experience of learning about foreign cultures and how everyone can make a difference.

“I believe giving back to those less fortunate benefits every person involved, and it’s very important,” Yenney said.