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Sun, Sand, and Service
2010-04-30

Can Students Learn Lessons in Cultural Studies in Exotic Locations?

From Feb. 26 to Mar. 11, 18 Manitoba students will get the opportunity to travel to San Carlos, Mexico, for an Intercultural Service Learning opportunity. This opportunity is part of the Intercultural Studies courses at Providence College.

For two weeks in the winter semester, students can take part in an educational and service-oriented trip. The school feels that the cultural experience will serve college students with many benefits and it is giving participating students a college credit for the trip.

“Providence has done cross-cultural trips in the past. The time was right to begin exploring this again,” says Jeff Banman, field education director at Providence. “San Carlos and the surrounding communities provide ample opportunities for students to be immersed in another culture and to serve with the gifts God has given them.”

San Carlos is a seaside town of about 5,000 people in the state of Sonora, about five hours south of the US border from Nogales, AZ. Guaymas, a major city only 10 kilometers away, and the surrounding villages provide opportunity to interact with the Mexican people in a variety of social settings.

“There is a wide range of learning and service opportunities that will be sure to engage everyone on the team in a meaningful way,” says Banman.

Students will have opportunity to teach English as a Second Language classes at a local Junior High School, lead sports camps for elementary students, lead church services and youth group meetings, build churches and homes, serve at a soup kitchen, distribute food hampers, and more.

“Students will be impacted by observing poverty first-hand and will be challenged to consider how their education at Providence can lead them to make a difference in this world,” says Banman.

Enrolment in this special course is open to all new and returning students, not just Intercultural Studies majors.

“Students will have the opportunity to develop skills and practical experience in their area of major,” says Banman, “as well as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people they work with.”

There are also many fun activities being planned during the trip to Mexico, including hiking and bouldering in a desert oasis, climbing Mt. Tetakawi (1500 ft), and deep sea fishing in the Sea of Cortez.

But the course is not designed to indulge pleasure-seekers. In fact, the course listing on the school’s website pokes fun at students looking at Intercultural Service Learning as a vacation, saying, “Who may not apply? Sun-seekers! This is not a spring break trip, but rather an intense cross-cultural experience of both service and learning. If you are looking for a 12-day Mexican vacation with your friends, please click here.” The link takes you to a link to a travel and vacation planning website.

For more information, please see the Intercultural Service Learning page on the Providence website, or contact Admissions today.

 
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