Troy University students take studies global through study abroad programs

Posted: Monday, 17 May 2010

TROY—From tracking and photographing wildlife in the wilds of Kenya to tracing the history of the Holocaust, Troy University students will trek across the globe this summer as a part of the University’s study abroad programs.

Study abroad opportunities through which students can earn credit while also experiencing another culture have been a part of the University’s international focus for several years under the vision and leadership of Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.

This summer’s round of study-abroad trips began this month with trips to London and Ecuador.

Dr. Carol Jordan, eminent scholar of risk management and insurance, is leading a group of six students to London where they are “shadowing” brokers and underwriters at Lloyd’s of London. Dr. Jordan has been taking students on the annual trip since 2001.

“Lloyd’s is a global market and the experience will add great value to their education,” Jordan said.

A group of eight students from the University’s College of Education are currently in Ecuador where they are observing and interacting with students and faculty at primary, secondary and university levels.

Led by Dr. Charlotte Minnick, director of the teacher education program, the students are in Cuenca, Ecuador and traveling to both urban and rural schools, including one in the Andes Mountains.

“The purpose of the College of Education’s Ecuador program is to connect our students and faculty to our hemisphere and to promote further internationalization of Troy University,” Dr. Minnick said. “This program provides observation and interaction experiences between TROY students and faculty and Ecuadorian teachers and students in primary, secondary, public and private schools, in university settings and at the Abraham Lincoln Center in Cuenca. Activities are scheduled to allow students and faculty to discover local cultures with the opportunity to be an active part of the global village.”

TROY students also have traveled to Kenya this month on a photographic safari under the leadership of Robert Joslin, director of photography for the Department of Art and Design. Joslin has taken students on annual photo trips to Kenya and Rwanda for several years. Students are accompanied by guides in national parks or on wildlife reserves.

In June, a group of students will travel to China on a study abroad trip offer through the Confucius Institute at Troy University. The Confucius Institute is part of a global network of more than 204 Confucius Institutes in 50 countries, 56 Confucius Institutes currently in the United States, dedicated to the promotion and development of Chinese language education, and cultural and business exchange with the People’s Republic of China.

The trip, which will run from June 19 to July 3, will allow students to develop Chinese conversational skills, make visits to historically significant sites such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and Olympic sites in Beijing and Qinhuangdao.

“Students will have the opportunity to learn about Chinese language, culture, business, government, ethnic groups and foreign policies,” said program Coordinator Feng Tan.

China is not the only destination in which TROY students will increase their knowledge of a foreign language. Trips are also available this summer to Costa Rica and Mexico during which students will interact with local families and have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and language.

Still, other TROY students will spend nearly a month in Dresden, Germany this summer studying music history. The trip, led by Drs. Margaret Jackson and Michael Hix of the John M. Long School of Music, is designed to give both music and non-music majors a unique glimpse into German culture with a specific focus on the country’s artistic and musical histories. Students will depart for the nearly month-long trip on June 29, reside in Dresden, the capital of the state of Saxony, and make visits to Berlin, Leipzig, Potsdam, Weimar and Prague.

Both Hix and Jackson have studied in Germany and believe the students who make this trip will gain experiences that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. Hix studied at the Goethe Institut in Dresden, Germany in 2002 as a Rotary International Cultural Ambassador, while Jackson completed studies in German history and literature at Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg and German language training at the Goethe Institute in Bad Godesberg, Germany. She also served as a visiting scholar in 2005 at the University of Cologne.

European countries will also be the destinations for two other study abroad trips offered this summer.

In July, the College of Arts and Sciences on TROY’s Montgomery Campus will offer students the opportunity to spend 11 days tracking the history of the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Dr. Dan Puckett, assistant professor of history, students will visit sites in Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow and Prague.

Dr. Puckett, who specializes in European history and history of the Holocaust, will lead students on tours of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau concentration camps, Jewish cemeteries in Warsaw and Prague and the city of Nuremberg, Germany, site of the military tribunals where leaders of Nazi Germany were prosecuted for war crimes.

Also in July, Dr. Shari Hoppin, assistant professor in the Hall School of Journalism, will travel with a group of five students to London, England, where they will visit various historical sites, including Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, the British Broadcasting Company, Parliament, the National Gallery and Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Dr. Hoppin said the trip, which examines popular culture, art and media, was partially designed based on what the students wanted to experience.

“The itinerary was planned in part based on what the students wanted to see during a trip to London,” Dr. Hoppin. “This trip provides them with the opportunity to see some of those sites that they have dreamed about seeing or learned about in the classroom. Some of these students have never traveled outside of the United States and my hope is that this trip will provide an immersion in another culture and be a tremendous educational opportunity for them.”