Going Places With the New Central Curriculum
One of the many facets of the university’s new Central Curriculum is a required cross-cultural experience. Some students fulfill their Global Opportunities (GO) requirement by spending a semester studying abroad, while others choose to take shorter trips. In other words, students can choose to GO Short or GO Long.
“We expect that the majority of our students are going to choose the short, faculty-led programs,” says Scott Manning, associate professor of French and Italian and director of crosscultural programs.
To meet the demand, not to mention their excitement for the program, professors were planning short-term trips before the new curriculum was even finalized, Manning says. Currently 10 GO Short trips have been approved and 10 more are in the process of being approved.
The GO requirement asks students, beginning with the class of 2013, to participate in a cross-cultural experience, either in the United States or abroad, for a minimum of two weeks and then take a reflective course upon their return to Susquehanna. Newly approved trips include those to Northern Ireland, Japan, Greece, Italy and Peru.
Eric Lassahn, director of residence life and volunteer programs, is leading a trip to Northern Ireland in June. “I see the GO program as a means to further my interest in civic engagement and international education,” he says. Students will spend time in Ballycastle working with the peace-building organization Corrymeela, in Belfast performing service work with a youth group, and in Derry learning the history of the city and the struggle between Protestants and Catholics.
“The most important thing is that they develop a deeper cross-cultural understanding,” Lassahn says.
Naomi Niskala, assistant professor of music, is taking a group of eight students to Japan for a 10-day residency at Niigata University followed by a week of travel throughout the country.
“Japanese and American culture is about as opposite as you can get,” says Niskala, who grew up in Tokyo attending English-speaking schools. Students will have music lessons with faculty members and rehearsals with Niigata University students, culminating in a recital. They will also spend some one-on-one time with students answering questions.
In the summer of 2011, students will also have the opportunity to travel to Greece with Coleen Zoller, associate professor of philosophy, and learn about ancient and modern Greek culture. Zoller previously took students on a week-long tour of Greece during spring break. She used that experience to retool the trip and turn it into a two-week GO program.
“It gives you more of a chance to really immerse yourself in the culture, not just be a tourist,” she says.
Associate Professors of Management Leann Mischel and David Bussard will be taking students to Italy and Peru, respectively, and Glen Retief, assistant professor of English and creative writing, will lead students to South Africa to learn about travel writing.
Students may also fulfill the GO requirement by participating in one of Susquehanna’s long-standing short travel programs, including Focus Australia, Hurricane Relief Team, Susquehanna University Central America Service Adventure (SU CASA) and Philippines: Learning, Understanding and Service (PLUS).
Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Heather Cobun ’10, a communications and political science major from Eldersburg, Md.; Adam Hinshaw, a freelance writer from Lewisburg, Pa.; and Julie Nicolov, a freelance writer from Trevorton, Pa.