Dr. Rob Kruger has served as the resident director for our BCA Xalapa program and been an integral part of the BCA family for almost two decades. He is retiring from this role at the end of 2017 and below he shares his thoughts on his time with students and as a member of the Xalapa community. We are thankful for his years of service to BCA and his work showing us all how to live a values driven life. The impact he’s had on his students and international education cannot be overstated.
Well, it was almost 18 years ago, I was already living here in Xalapa, teaching part-time at the university here but running out of options, when a friend of mine sent me the ad for this job in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I had already directed a program for Guilford College in Guadalajara for a couple of semesters, so I had some experience already. At any rate, BCA fell from heaven for me. I was particularly interested in BCA’s stated goal of promoting issues of Peace and Social Justice within its programs.
Seventeen years and 34 ½ student groups, I am at the other end of the process. I never thought it would all end on the Ramblas of Barcelona (which is where I said farewell to my final group), but life will have its little jokes!
All told among those 34 ½ (ok, let’s say 35) groups, I have had well over 300 students, from many different colleges and universities. Some have been delights, some have been real challenges, but I think that all got something important out of their time here in Mexico. Developing aspects of the peace and justice dimensions of the program was particular gratifying, especially the Social Problems and Social Action in Mexico course, and more recently the course focusing on Street Children and Popular Education. Even the introductory Cultural History of Mexico course provided an opportunity to get students thinking about important issues of peace and justice, in Mexico and around the world.
I have heard back from former students over the years – and more frequently now as I am posting retrospective photos of each of those 35 groups on our Facebook page – and they often tell me how their experience in Mexico and particularly with BCA and what we did with our program – had made a large impact on the direction of their future lives. Now as I prepare to leave BCA I am grateful for the opportunity to have that kind of impact on the lives of many people who are now out there changing the world, with an eye on making it more peaceful and just.
Dr. Rob Kruger
The Xalapa program is currently suspended. Check back on our website for updates.