My CEL experiences have shaped me into who I am, what I am doing academically and professionally, and have catalyzed a growing social awareness as a student, educator, musician, community worker, and person. I have participated in transformative CEL opportunities throughout both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Education at Western University. Most significantly, I worked in Rwanda in 2016 through Dr. Henri Boyi’s course, went to Guatemala with the Music Education department in 2017, and did a placement at the El Sistema Aeolian music program in London, Ontario, which propelled me towards volunteering there and eventually coordinating the program.
The international CEL experiences, in particular, exposed me to a variety of new perspectives on ways of being and living that have not only enriched my own understandings but have underlined the importance of valuing various cultural perspectives to co-exist and thrive. Throughout the intercultural community engagements, I discovered deeper layers of understanding of my own positionality through critical self-reflection as well as insight into the problematics of prevalent power dynamics at play in CEL interactions. Meanwhile, I was also valuing the beauties of the different cultures and communities through collaborative learning and engagements which highlighted a fundamental principle of CEL, reciprocity. Finally, I learned through my CEL experiences to value failure as a critical part of the learning process. To hit the target, you have to first miss the target.
I have been incredibly fortunate to participate in CEL experiences through Western and I wholeheartedly recommend everyone to engage with