Photo: Students pose with Yeomen Warder at Tower of London, HSU London Semester, 2012; Students conducting field research on leaf cutter ants in the rainforest during Dr. Rick Hammer's May term class in Costa Rica; Costa Rica students at research facility include, Joanna Steed, Alyssa Fisher, Kristen Isaac, Kylie Donch, Nick Walker, Dr. Rick Hammer, John Bregger, Stephanie Comacho, Sara Donham, Seth Tate, and Marcie Quast.
International Studies at Hardin-Simmons University is bursting wide open as students clamor to learn more about the global community.
Dr. Allan Landwer, director of the International Studies Program, said four new faculty-led programs were added this past year and five more will launch in 2014, including destinations to Australia and Indonesia.
Landwer said the number of students studying abroad through HSU increased 65% during the 2012-2013 academic year. Landwer credited the growth to HSU faculty members and their interest in helping students learn about the global community. “We implemented three new faculty-led programs to Europe and one to Central America this year,” said Landwer as he points out May term classes currently going on outside of the United States.
“Dr. Rick Hammer is teaching tropical ecology to 10 biology students in the highlands and cloud forest of western Costa Rica, and we have a group of students in Spain studying in the medieval city of Salamanca at the University of Salamanca,” said Landwer. Biology students stay at the Texas A&M research facility while the students in Spain are immersed in the Spanish language and culture, and travel throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
“This summer, students will travel to Florence, Italy, to study art at the Santa Reparata International University School of Art with professor of art, Linda Fawcett, and assistant professor of photography, Carrie Jones. A handful of students will study astronomy in Germany this summer, with several more students set to leave for the Summer I semester in Australia where they will study at Macquarie University near Sydney,” said Landwer.
Nine students lived in London during the spring of 2013 and traveled the United Kingdom extensively as part of their daily classes with HSU assistant professor of theology Dr. Rod Taylor. U.K. travel also included a nine-day coach tour in March with stays in medieval Caernarfon, Wales, where Charles was crowned the Prince of Wales; Ambleside, England, in the Lake District; and Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum. Students also traveled to Glencoe, Scotland, in the Scottish Highlands; Edinburgh Castle; toured York Minster in York, U.K.; and visited Stratford-upon-Avon, England, where they saw a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Other English cities visited were Oxford, Cambridge, Dover, Canterbury, and Salisbury. “They saw dozens of spectacular places, including Stonehenge, the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, the Roman Wall, and the Beatles Museum,” said Landwer.
During their stay in London, students visited the British Museum, Museum of London, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Parliament, and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Landwer pointed out, “Students also had exposure to many of the great places of worship, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, All Souls Parish, Bloomsbury Baptist Church, Westminster Abbey, Hillsong, and several local churches. Students were also fortunate to witness several rare events, including catching sight of Queen Elizabeth and attending the funeral of Lady Thatcher.”
During the fall, spring, and summer semesters, students study at Salzburg College in Salzburg, Austria, while living with local host families. “Their studies include a trip to Bavaria, they visit the great cities of Munich and Vienna, and see opera and symphony performances in Salzburg,” said Landwer.
“Students also hike and ski in the Alps, visit the Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus—Hitler’s retreat), and tour the Dachau concentration camp,” said Landwer. All students are also required to take a course in conversational German and study Austrian culture, and there is an Austria summer study program.
In Australia, students study at Macquarie University near Sydney. They have a chance to explore the Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Blue Mountains, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, Tropical Queensland, and the Whitsunday Islands.
As another option students may study at the Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, China.
This past March, students traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland, earning academic hours in Dr. Kelly Pigott’s class on ancient spiritual practices. That class combined with a Baptist Student Ministry trip to see ancient sites at Glendalough, Ireland, where Celtic spirituality lessons were guided by a local Roman Catholic priest.
Pigott said, “HSU students spent a great deal of the spring semester learning about the Celtic Christianity traditions and its approach to prayer and worship. During the trip to Ireland, they experienced first-hand what they had been learning. It’s one of many opportunities offered to students throughout the year to help form and strengthen their faith.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Lyle, professor of New Testament and Greek, oversaw nine students during an annual spring break trip to Greece, where students retraced Paul’s Aegean experience in ancient Athens. Students stayed in central Athens near the Acropolis, visiting the Parthenon, the Agora, Mars Hill, the Acropolis Museum, the ancient city of Corinth, and many other historic sites.
“The students experienced both the ancient and the modern,” said Lyle. “They also experienced missions and church work in a different context.”
Late last summer, 14 students traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, with Larry Wheeler, department head and associate professor of theatre, and Dean Nolen, assistant professor of theatre. They performed on the world’s stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and witnessed the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which attracts thousands of visitors and participants each year.
Meanwhile, music students toured Austria and Italy, and performed in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy. Also, Brittany McDonald, a social work student, studied at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and worked with the poor in the townships of the Western Cape.
Several students are set to travel to Indonesia with professor of missions ministry, Dr. Rob Sellers, during May term 2014. Sellers routinely arranges for students to study missions work in Southeast Asia.
Landwer said he is currently looking into several new opportunities for study abroad experiences. Those include study at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra and Sydney, Australia, and a world religions class that will leave for Indonesia in the summer of 2014. “Also, we have a new professor, Dr. Rosario Hall, who wants to explore our options in expanding our existing Salamanca, Spain, summer program,” said Landwer.