With that being said, I don't think we've as a program done that fully. Being immersive and present when you stay in a different geographical region is extremely important. It's a great way to deepen your awareness of the world and yourself, satisfy a sense of curiosity and wonder, deepen your relationship with new people, find new challenges and adopt life change, etc. Even though we may not be taking full advantage of the benefits that come with full immersion into a culture I don't think it's necessarily all negative — I think there's good reason. There are definitely programs out there and ways to be fully immersive. For example, during my missions trip to Tarragona, Spain in 2012 we were living in a refugee retreat center, working in the church and the school, living amongst the residents. But that's what we were there for. In Detroit we are here for other reasons and to achieve other goals. To say that we have made a conscious effort to immerse ourselves would be false, but to say that we are to be expected to do so fully I think would be unrealistic. So I think the conclusion made in the prompt is accurate; we haven't truly become engaged in the community, observed the place we're living in authentically, or reflected on how it makes us feel or what it means. But in lieu of that I think we've been doing some amazing things and helping build the city of Detroit in minute and substantial ways.
Even though I maybe haven't immersed myself fully whilst being here, I think in the coming weeks I've been trying, and if not valiantly enough, at least have been conscious of engaging with people outside or Duke more deliberately and seeing myself less as a foreigner and more as a native. Whether that means using MoGo to explore the city on a Sunday night, being more tolerant and willing to help someone who approaches me on the street asking for resources, going to church, or even striking up conversation with random people at work, all of these are steps I've been trying to immerse myself in a way that isn't forced or pre-meditated. This isn't a self-righteous or self-satisfied declaration of my authenticity. I don't believe I'm anywhere near becoming as immersed as ideally I can be as of right now, but I think being aware and honest about my own deficiencies is the first step to eventually becoming immersed and reaping the benefits thereof.