Undergraduate students

Humans of IDP #70: Alex ’20 & Rafael ’23

By October 6, 2021 October 11th, 2021 No Comments

With the start of the new semester, we’re excited to continue our #HumansofIDP series! Former EDUC 2610 students, Alex Jacobs ’20 and Rafael Bitanga ’23 (now an EDUC 2610 facilitator!), were paired together for an interview assignment when they took the class in Spring 2020. Here’s what they have to say about the experience:

What was valuable to you about the interview assignment experience?

Alex:

The interview experience pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a setting where I could grow as an individual, a classmate, and as a new friend. It was a very different kind of homework assignment for me. I had known that EDUC 2610 was going to be unlike any course I had taken in college, especially as a biology major, and the interview assignment embodied the way IDP facilitates connections between students in bold ways.

What do you appreciate about one another?

Rafael:

I appreciated Alex for being open-minded during our interview experience activity. After the activity, he invited me to watch a movie with his friends at Cornell Cinema and this allowed me to connect with upperclassmen during my freshman year. Near the end of the 2020 IDP spring semester, COVID-19 turned my life around leaving me without a place to live for the last few month. Alex welcomed me into his apartment and this couldn’t not have happened without IDP. One and a half years later, we are still connected. Congratulations on graduating, Alex!

Alex:

There is a lot I appreciate about Rafael! There’s no one else even remotely like him. Despite being raised with less material wealth than most people I know, he is the most generous – and I don’t mean you’ll see him handing out money frivolously to anyone who asks. He is thoughtful and generous with his time. He will go out of his way to lend a hand, share a (delicious!!) home-cooked meal, or use any one of his many creative skills to make someone’s day without any cause other than kindness. He cares deeply for the people close to him. He is purely selfless and genuine – and I haven’t even mentioned how talented he is as a teacher, photographer/videographer/editor, and creator. Rafael is one of the good ones.

What have you learned about yourself?

Rafael:

As a facilitator, reflecting on my experience as a student, I know that I struggled with balancing content and process. As a student, I read the readings, but not all of them clicked with me, and now as a facilitator I have the opportunity to go back and learn and surface deeper thoughts. I also learned to speak to my mom about my sexual identity and without IDP I would not have felt brave to speak about a topic that was foreign to my culture.