Building Blocks of a 21st Century Education
By Betsy Robertson
PITTSBURGH NATIVE KATHRYN “KATIE” CWENAR ’09 spent four months studying in Africa last spring, including a three-week stint on a mountain in the Equatorial Guinea village of Moka conducting research on galagos, the smallest primates in the world.
She had already been to Australia the previous summer as a participant in Susquehanna’s Focus Australia program, an 18-day interdisciplinary tour of the continent, but her experiences in Equatorial Guinea opened her eyes to the vast cultural and economic differences that exist in the world.
“I saw firsthand what a third world country looks like and how so many people live,” she says. “I saw the role that women play in a different culture and how other people view Americans. I realized how privileged our society is and what luxury we live in … and I saw just how desperate people are for affordable, reliable health care and how valued education is.”
Cwenar’s enthusiasm for living outside her comfort zone is preparing her well for a two-year assignment in the Peace Corps after graduation this May. She’ll be working in the health care field with HIV and AIDS patients in Africa. Soon all Susquehanna students will have a personal story to tell about how a study-away experience changed their view of the world and themselves.
Beginning this fall, all new students will engage in and reflect on an off-campus study experience during their Susquehanna years. The highly innovative Cross-Cultural Requirement, called GO (Global Opportunities), is part of a new Central Curriculum being introduced this fall.