What do students and alumni say about SOL?

About the preparation course, “Border Crossing”:

  • “The class is more than just ‘intellectual’. Assignments and readings aren’t difficult because they’re hard to understand. They are challenging because they make you question and identify your values/beliefs, and methods of engaging with others.”
  • “This class was unlike any other I’ve taken at Duke. I’ve learned life lessons and been challenged in my core beliefs.”
  • “We had to learn how to interact with people of different backgrounds with different values by exercising leadership skills we discussed in class. The class provided a new way of thinking about leadership as a practice to incorporate into daily life rather than only in certain situations.”
  • “It challenged me to think, be patient, respect points of views and helped me grow enormously as a person. The readings were fantastic; assignments were self-reflective and energy in the classroom was always powerful… The passionate discourse in and out of the classroom really honed my communication skills and the writing assignments were extremely helpful in teaching me how to write in an engaging manner.”
  • “She (Alma) has brought together a group of very diverse students who generally would not be friends outside of class and engaged us in interesting, challenging topics… Alma constantly challenges us to think deeper and go outside our preconceptions to challenge the status quo.”
  • “One of the most valuable courses I have taken. I’ve learned that leadership is about opening space, being present, having the moral courage to expose oneself to messy situations in which personal values are challenged and worked with (not against) to harvest collective movement.”

About the overall SOL experience:

  • “The Hart Leadership Program gave me the skills and the experience necessary to apply and receive a Fulbright. Once in the field, my research and classroom experiences were invaluable. The Hart Program gave me the confidence to pursue a goal I never would have imagined possible. It led me to create a documentary in a foreign country, in a foreign language about a topic I feel passionate about. In the job application process, it has also been a significant point of interest and continues to help me make tough decisions both professionally and personally.”
  • “Words cannot adequately describe how SOL has changed my ideas about my purpose and role in life. These weren’t facts I memorized or someone else’s opinions that I regurgitated – it was a product of myself and my own thoughts and actions.”
  • “SOL was the most forming and important experience I had at Duke. Although different than my study abroad experience (which I also enjoyed highly), SOL’s integration of classroom learning with work abroad was extremely powerful.”
  • “I couldn’t rely on the skills I’ve developed my whole life in being a ‘successful student.’ I couldn’t skate by on my ability to hone in on what people want. I had to re-learn how to learn, and how to be a ‘true’ student of life. It was scary, because I hate to fail. It was also challenging because I couldn’t predict the outcome of most of the things I engaged in. It was also challenging because there were people’s real lives at stake; I was experimenting in the real world, and taking lessons from real life – I didn’t have absolute control, and I had to be bold and careful at the same time.”
  • “SOL was a valuable experience for me and really changed the direction of my studies and my career plans. I believe that 2nd year students, in particular, really benefit from the experience because they’ve already had a year to mature and then have ample time to alter their course of study and explore other educational/organizational options.”
  • “If you are a student and interested in better understanding yourself and the world you live in, do the program. If you are a student and you are interested in making yourself and the world you live in a better place, do the program. If you are a student and you are interested in having a fun, exciting, and challenging college experience that you will never forget, do the program.”
  • “I only wish I could do SOL again.”

Alumni and projects

  • Students often find it helpful to see what past SOL participants have done. Please visit Students & Projects to read about the summer projects that have been completed over the program’s history.