CMU students get life-changing lesson - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

CMU students get life-changing lesson

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MT. PLEASANT (WJRT) -
(01/31/14) - A once in a lifetime opportunity brought 11 Central Michigan University students an educational experience they'll never forget. The group traveled to Poland and Germany to learn about the Holocaust first-hand during their winter break.

The service trip, through CMU's Alternative Break Program, lasted 15 days. During that time, it taught lessons in culture, compassion and acceptance.

"It's definitely something that has changed my life and made me look at the world differently," said Ricky Hohn, a senior at CMU.

The group traveled back in time to study a painful period of history.

"It's very interesting to walk on the grounds that so many people had struggled through before you," said Lauren Rabish a senior at CMU.

The students volunteered at Auschwitz, the most notorious concentration camps operated by the Nazis during World War II. More than one million people were killed there, most of them European Jews.

"Jewish people had a culture before World War II and before the Holocaust, and it's important to remember them," Hohn said.

Auschwitz now serves as a museum and memorial. The CMU volunteers even got their hands dirty to spruce up the historical landmark.
"We helped upkeep the grounds so that other people could still come and enjoy the museum," said Juline Kotarski, a sophomore at CMU.

The group took away a lesson worth sharing.

"Everyone has their own back story, everyone comes from a different background and we really can't judge someone for being the culture that they are, or their religion, or their race, or their sexual orientation," Hohn said.

"Everyone should have an opportunity to go out there and experience something equally as life changing," Kotarski said.

The students visited several other well-known sites, too, including Berlin's Jewish Museum, a recreation of the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial.
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