Unpacking the Power of Privilege: An Interview with Judith Martin

Judith Martin wanted to go everywhere and see everything.

She grew up in a conservative Mennonite family with Amish grandparents, and often wondered as a child what was beyond her familiar borders.

“I even wore a cape dress and covering when I attended Lancaster Mennonite School and was always curious about the world,” Martin said. “I wanted to move beyond the confines of my family and church.”

And she did. She taught Bible school in Puerto Rico and went to France and Algeria for three years with her husband through the Teachers Abroad Program.

The experiences were so transformative, and Martin, now professor of communication at Arizona State University saw similar changes happening to other Americans she was with. “I became this huge [study abroad] cheerleader.”

At a CIEE (or IEE) conference in the 1980s, she met Henry Weaver, former Goshen College professor; after years of research, they would eventually write Students Abroad, Strangers at Home: Education for a Global Society with Goshen professor Norman Kauffman.

Her passion for international work led to a job in study abroad administration, teaching positions in ESL, communication and international studies, and Martin’s current position in intercultural communication. She taught pre-departure and re-entry classes for years to help students prepare and debrief, and now works to help students recognize white privilege and interracial relationships.

“It’s all connected,” she said. “Whether we study intercultural or interracial communications, the overall frameworks are the same.”

She also succeeded in moving far beyond the circle of her childhood expectations. Her father supported education, she said, but to teach a woman wasn’t compatible with some of the strict guidelines in the church. “He had no idea what education would do for me,” she said. “Education in itself is transformative but international education? People are really changed in a good way.”

The Early Years, Part II: How The World Alters Us with Norman Kauffmann

The Early Years series offers a glimpse into SST’s rich history through interviews with key players in SST’s creation and beginning decades. Part I was with Hank Weaver, who was on the planning committee for SST. For the second installment, we spoke with Norman Kauffmann of Goshen, who spent years studying the effects of SST on students for a dissertation and book. 

Norman Kauffmann had never been abroad. When he came to the city of Goshen in 1969, SST’s first students were just unpacking their suitcases. No one could predict what the trips would bring. Kauffmann hadn’t even heard of the program. But by the time he retired from his position as dean of students in 1997, he was an expert in cross-cultural experience – as both a leader and an author.

Each semester, Kauffmann would watch groups of sun-burned, jet-lagged students arrive home from three months abroad and wonder what they were thinking. He observed they were different – often in monumental ways – but couldn’t pinpoint how. After he led three terms in Honduras, felt and experienced a new culture up close, his intrigue grew.

When he began doctoral work at Indiana University in 1978, a dissertation advisor suggested documenting the different ways a private Christian college and a state university changed people. Kauffmann would focus on change, he agreed, but not at home—he would study what happened when people left familiar borders.

The Early Years, Part I: An Interview with Hank Weaver


The Early Years series will offer a glimpse into SST’s rich history through interviews with key players in SST’s creation and beginning decades. For the first installment, we spoke with Henry (Hank) Weaver of Goshen, who served on the planning committee for SST.

 Hank Weaver’s game was chemistry. It was his love, his research, what he taught at Eastern Mennonite College and Goshen College, and the spark that sent him to Peru in 1964 as a consultant at San Marcos University in Lima. When he returned to Goshen from a year of teaching in very bad Spanish and Lima’s grey humidity, his passion was still chemistry. But now he could not stop thinking about the world.