June 5, 2019Print | PDF
For Wilfrid Laurier University students, building skills and experience for life after graduation happens inside the classroom and around the world.
Each spring and summer, Laurier faculty members lead programs abroad, providing students with the opportunity to integrate classroom learning with hands-on experiences in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other international locations.
"When students experience engagement in more than one learning environment they build a global perspective and skills to support them in their studies and their futures," says Ben Yang, director of global engagement at Laurier. “Field courses help students expand on three critical elements of a global mindset – personal experience, emotional engagement and guided reflection."
After completing the pre-departure portion of their courses, Laurier students will take part in real-world learning in France, Mexico, Jordan and Spain, and some have just returned from spring courses in Ghana and Poland.
For three weeks in May, Laurier students engaged in participatory music making, critical discussion, reflection and experience-based assignments at the West African Cultural Exchange Centre in Dagbamete, Ghana. Co-facilitated by Music faculty member Deanna Yerichuk and Kathy Armstrong of Carleton University, the experience allowed students to experience the connection between music and community engagement while developing cross-cultural competencies.
From May 18 through June 1, Laurier History Professor Eva Plach and students travelled throughout Poland to learn about the Holocaust. Through visits to museums, cemeteries, commemorative sites and former Nazi death camps, students furthered their understanding of the history of Jews in Poland, the history of the Holocaust and postwar efforts to commemorate wartime experiences. The field course is offered in partnership with Nipissing University.
Led by Human Rights and Human Diversity Professor Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, this experience sees students deepen their understanding of the economic and social dislocations of Central American migrants to Mexico. Students learn about the migration barriers faced by asylum seekers and the organizations and individuals who assist them on their journeys.
Forsberg-Wilson teaches the course every two years with colleagues at Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. This year’s field course runs from May 31 through July 5.
Between June 1 and 13, Languages and Literatures Professor Nathalie Freidel is leading students through the French cities of Paris and Marseille to explore how Mediterranean cultures have influenced French culture from past to present. The experience is a new offering in a series of Mediterranean study courses developed by Laurier’s Languages and Literatures department.
From June 12 through July 21, students led by Laurier Archaeology Professor Debra Foran will participate in the Town of Nebo Archaeological Project, a multidisciplinary research project investigating trade, religion and landscape at Khirbet al-Mukhayyat in Jordan. Students develop skills in surveying, excavation, recording, drawing and artifact identification and processing.
From July 7 to 31, Laurier students will be immersed in an intensive language and cultural learning experience in Spain with Languages and Literatures Professor John W. Schwieter. Offered in partnership with El Colegio de España, this experience sees students receive instruction to enhance Spanish speaking, listening and grammar skills. Students practice their skills through interaction with host families, local community members and other international students. The class will also participate in guided tours to develop a greater understanding of Spanish culture, art and history. The field course has run each summer for the last 12 years.
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