Creating Global Citizens and Agents of Positive Change
"Magis is the best thing that ever happened to me”; "Magis changed my life." These are phrases from Magis Exchange alumni that they said after ending their experience in the program.
Magis Exchange is a program that comes from the union and solidarity of Jesuit universities around the world as a life-transforming proposal that aims to create global citizens who lead positive changes for the humanity and the planet.
It started during the IAJU assembly in Deusto, where the group of International Education Leaders of JHE institutions presented Magis Exchange as a proposal, and the Assembly approved the creation of a Task Force to run a Pilot until the Boston College Assembly.
In the Boston College Assembly, the Magis Exchange Task Force concluded that the pilot phase was successful and the model of the program works. Additionally, they proved that the program helps building relationships between Jesuit universities based on the principle of solidarity and not only on the value of reciprocity.
Magis Exchange is a yearlong experience where students are joining a Global Environmental Citizenship Course (online global classroom) and participate in a semester-long international academic and service/volunteering experience. In the yearlong online course on Global Citizenship instructed by Loyola University Chicago, the participants of each program generation connect to learn and reflect together about the local and global impacts of biodiversity loss, water scarcity and climate change. Later, during the second half of the program, the participants experience a semester long academic exchange where they take courses of their major (for credit) in one of the participating Jesuit universities. Also, during that time, students engage in a program related to the mission of the Society of Jesus, it could be a volunteering activity, internship, service-learning, etc. And they will dedicate 3-5 hours per week, resulting in a total of approximately 64 hours/semester.
At the present time, Magis Exchange Program has 35 participating institutions from all regions of the world; three cohorts have now graduated from the program, consolidated by 55 students who have had a transformative experience that leads them to become global citizens with the “Ignatian” values that will have a positive footprint in their contexts.
The fruits of this program have shown us the importance of collaboration between the institutions that are part of the Society of Jesus because when we work together, we build experiences that have a real impact on the lives of young people in the case of Magis and that is a significant contribution to build a better society every day, more just, equitable, critical and willing to be more to serve better.
My name is Alejandra María Serrano Dussán, current coordinator of the Magis Exchange Program and alumni of cohort 2 of the program at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This was an enriching experience that showed me the importance of collaboration in Jesuit networks, since my home university, the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana does not have agreements or exchange opportunities with certain places in the world, but by belonging to Magis, I was given the opportunity to go to Indonesia, like other students from my university who have gone to Kenya (Hekima College), Japan (Sophia University) or the Philippines (Ateneo de Manila), allowing us to live incredible experiences, entering into cultures completely different from Colombia and contexts that we could not even imagine existed.
Taking into account my personal experience and the testimonies of other alumni I have talked with, I can assure that it is a very special program because it invites you to see the world in a different way, to know yourself and look for the best version of you to deliver it to the others, to face fears, to cross cultural barriers and all the prejudices you have about them, but above all, it really opens your mind filling you with empathy that makes you want to revolutionize the world and make it a better place for everyone.