Week in the Life: A transformative experience

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At the heart of LiveDifferent Academy lies a transformative experience that transcends traditional classroom learning. Known as the “Week in the Life,” this pivotal week is an immersive encounter that exposes students to the realities faced by countless individuals around the world. It is a unique opportunity for Academy participants to step outside their comfort zones, push boundaries and develop profound insights into privilege, gratitude and human connection.

What is the ‘Week in the Life’?

The Week in the Life is an initiative that brings students closer to the daily struggles and challenges endured by many individuals in underserved communities. It involves living in a basic shelter, engaging in manual labour, and relying on meagre wages to meet essential needs. The goal is to bridge the gap between the privileged world many of us inhabit and the stark realities for many people living in developing communities around the globe.

Through the testimonials of our 2022 cohort, we gain a deeper understanding of the impact of this extraordinary week:

Caitlin: “The most challenging aspect was actually the food situation… Throughout the week, we struggled with what food to buy due to what we could afford, balancing individual preferences, and getting food that would fill us up but was still nutritious.”

Eddie: “The work days pushed me to my limit. Having to ration our food and budget made it a lot worse… It made me feel very defeated and deflated.”

Katelynn: “I left the week in the life feeling confused and overwhelmed… I was so concerned about my well-being for such a short time while there are people who live that way every day.”

Logan: “This past week I found myself regularly asking myself ‘why me?’… How come I was so much more privileged than most of our world?”

Aspen: “I recognized that I was born in a country where salary is an affordable rate and that this is not always the case… It’s heartbreaking that our world is so unfair.”

Expectations, rules and realities

Academy students are leave their phones behind during Week in the Life, they take public transportation to work, are given strarting money of only 250 pesos along with a daily wage of roughly 200 pesos, and drinking water. From there, they are expected to budget for food and additional water, and firewood, and any additional transportation.

Throughout the week there will be random scenarios which simulate real-life problems a family may encounter. Things like new school uniforms, an illness, or medical bills, may come your way and cut into your weekly earnings.

Most important takeaways from the Week in the Life

The Week in the Life is undeniably the most critical week of LiveDifferent Academy for several reasons:

Empathy and understanding: It fosters empathy and a deep understanding of the struggles faced by marginalized communities. Students not only witness but also experience the challenges firsthand.

Gratitude and humility: It instills gratitude for the privileges we often take for granted, such as access to clean water, nutritious food, and safe shelter. It humbles participants and encourages them to appreciate the little things in life.

Human connection: It reinforces the importance of human connection. The support and camaraderie within the group during this challenging week highlight the significance of community and compassion.

Social responsibility: It awakens a sense of social responsibility. Students are motivated to make a positive impact, no matter how small, in the lives of those less fortunate.

Personal growth: It pushes individuals far outside of their comfort zones and encourages personal growth. Facing this level of adversity and adapting to previously unfathomable circumstances can lead to profound self-discovery.

In conclusion, the Week in the Life is not just a week; it’s a life-changing experience that reshapes perspectives and cultivates empathy. It challenges students to question their privileges, appreciate the power of human connection, and develop a sense of social responsibility. It is a pivotal component of the LiveDifferent Academy, a testament to the program’s commitment to fostering global citizens who are compassionate, grateful, and determined to make a difference in the world.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: October 19th, 2023