Students participate in cross-cultural experiences
Bluffton University students take part in various cross-cultural experiences domestically and across the world every year. These experiences allow students to better understand a new culture, discover destinations independently and the opportunity to serve within the community. This past month, more than 55 students took part in short-term cross-cultural experiences in six different locations.
Students who completed their cross-cultural experience in Bolivia learned about the culture and history of this country while interacting with children at a school, an orphanage and a daycare center. Students who participated in this program had the opportunity to travel to the Andes Mountains and the capital city.
The Botswana experience gave students the opportunity to spend two weeks living in homestays with families in the small village of Pitseng. These families opened their homes and their hearts to Bluffton University students so that they could learn who they are and how they live, work, worship and establish community. The experience also included travel to Gaborone, the capital city, and a safari.
China offered a chance for university students to learn more about the culture and history of this country while interacting with college students from China. Students had the opportunity to travel to four different cities, hike the Great Wall of China and visit other historic attractions.
Trinidad offered the chance for students to explore and interact with the rich and diverse cultural background of this tropical country in the Caribbean. This experience was focused on service and involvement within the Mennonite Church of Trinidad and Tobago. Students were also able to visit cultural sites, eat ethnic foods and get to know the people of Trinidad.
Two domestic options were available to students. Students on the Chicago experience collaborated with the Olive Branch Mission, located in south-side Chicago. After participating in this program students better understand the social, racial and economic struggles facing low-income families in an urban environment and one “Christian” response to these issues.
Students who attended the Kentucky cross-cultural collaborated with Sharing with Appalachian People (SWAP), a program run by Mennonite Central Committee. The students completed a variety of hands-on projects for the citizens of Eastern Kentucky while being challenged to compare their own lifestyles, values, hopes and dreams with those of the people they meet and worked with each day.
These experiences fulfill Bluffton’s undergraduate cross-cultural requirement that must be completed before graduation. Students can either complete a cross-cultural experience or take six credit hours in one foreign language.
Short-term opportunities available during the 2017-18 academic year include experiences in Bangladesh, Colombia, Haiti, Iceland, Arizona, Chicago and Kentucky.
-Jena O’Brien, public relations student assistant