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Jimmy Juarez ’15: The exploration of the mind

By Timmera Whaley'15 on December 10, 2013

Jimmy Juarez '15 stops for a photo while exploring a cave

Peace and Conflict Studies


Santa Rosa, California


  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Fund
  • Summer Search Osher


  • Summer Search Scholar
  • California Scholarship Federation Scholar
  • National Outdoor Leadership School Alumni

Could you describe your experience abroad, and your reasoning for going?
My mother has often told me “necesitas salir y descubrir, porque amontonados no hacemos nada” (You need to get out and discover because we can’t do anything if we are crowded in one place). As a current student of the SIT Fall 2013 Bolivia program, I am unraveling the meaning behind her phrase: moving beyond comfort zones and beyond the role as an observer.  I believe this mentality fosters changes in ourselves and around us. It’s for that reason that I chose Bolivia for my study abroad program. With a history in the highest degree of exploitation and equally historic obscurity, Bolivia has and will help me confront present realities of countries while seeing firsthand how their issues are being resolved.

What is one class that has shaped your opinion and how?
One class that has shaped my opinion has been PCON 218: Practices of Peace and Conflicts with Professor Susan Thomson. I had always been cautious about the information I had accepted as valid. However, my experiences in this class helped me understand what “informs” information: how reporters intrinsically and sometimes unintentionally slide biases in information. By the same token, the class helped me understand stories in a new light: how the lived experiences of people speak for their context and restore the voices of communities.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a first-year student?
A book can only go so far as to explain history, or better his story, the viewpoint of the author. When people offer their story, their lived experiences, particular problems, and solutions, that’s where we begin to learn. Sometimes we need get out of the library, know when to close the book–and when to listen with our heads, our eyes, and our hearts.

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