Student Reflects on SVAD Tunisia Trip

SVAD and Tunisian art students working on the wall.

SVAD and Tunisian art students working on Tunis wall mural.

This June 6 SVAD students and 6 staff traveled to Tunis, Tunisia to learn about Tunisian culture and create relationships with Tunisian art students while collaborating on a mural project together. Below SVAD art student Stephanie Garcia shares how she experienced it:

When I first learned that I was able to go on the Tunisia trip, I was very excited and ready to experience a new culture and place. I honestly had no idea what to expect. But now that I’m back in the States after spending two weeks in Tunisia, it’s hard to put into words exactly what I experienced. From the second I arrived, I was overwhelmed with how different it was from home. The airport was small and yet chaotic. Driving in a taxi was also an experience in itself. I remember arriving in the area where we had to walk to our hostel and carry our suitcases through a maze of cobblestone alleyways. But arriving at the hostel was just the beginning of our journey. From then on it was a constant arrival of new people, meeting and greeting strangers who became very familiar quickly and trying to get adjusted to the lack of air conditioning. I remember meeting the Tunisian art students. They were all so genuine and curious to learn about us. There was no time wasted, and we started to partner up and talk about ideas for the wall. I was impressed with a lot of the ideas they had and how prepared they were. Once we actually started painting the wall, I was stunned by how fast some of them worked. They were each so confident in what they were doing and so willing to help. I never expected them to be so sweet and also giving. I learned that each of them had a story and they all had different lives, but art had brought us all together. They were each so talented and constantly encouraging us to keep going and giving us tips or suggestions on how to paint. I guess I learned that collaborations are truly all about communication. I thought it would be hard to understand them since they didn’t speak a lot of English, but they always found a way to show us what they meant. The wall turned out so beautiful and I was so impressed to see that it was so different but very unified at the same time. Tunisia had so much beauty, and the students had so much to offer. I hope that they realize they have changed how I view art and their culture.