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BETWEEN A RELIGIOUS ROCK AND A HARD STUDY
ABROAD PLACE: SUPPORTING STUDENTS OF FAITH
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Chair & Presenters:
2
J. Scott Van Der Meid, Brandeis University
Sarah E. Spencer, University of St. Thomas
Eero Jesurun, CIEE Madrid
Kwasi Gyasi-Gyamerah, CIEE Ghana
MANY ROADS LEAD TO
ROME..AND BEYOND
Sarah E. Spencer, Director, Office of Study Abroad,
University of St. Thomas
REINVENTING
STUDY ABROAD
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
• St. Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota
• 10,245 total: 6,240 undergraduate;
4,005 graduate students
• 50% Roman Catholic
• 4-1-4 calendar
CURRICULAR ALIGNMENT WITH RELIGION
5
 Undergraduate Core Curriculum – Faith & the Catholic Tradition
 Theology 101: The Christian Theological Tradition
 200 level: “Faith Seeking Understanding.”
Focus on a particular area of the Christian tradition, namely: the Bible, historical
theology, systematic theology or moral theology
 300/400 level: “Bridge Courses”
Students bring theological concepts and methods into dialogue with other disciplines
 Catholic Studies major/minor/Masters
 Undergraduate Seminary - St. John’s Vianney (Philosophy & Catholic Studies majors)
6
Bernardi Campus in
Rome
• CORE semester (fall)
• Catholic Studies
(spring)
• Seminarians (fall &
spring)
• Theology 101 in J-term
7
OPPORTUNTIES FOR ROME STUDY ABROAD
8
Intensive community, formation and cultural experience of living
in the heart of the Catholic Church
Historic place of faith
Seminarians study abroad
Fulfills lots of degree requirements
Faculty know and trust the curriculum
Hard to say no
LIMITATIONS FOR ROME STUDY ABROAD
9
Traditional curriculum = limited intercultural learning &
engagement
Community-based living and learning
Language acquisition
Community engagement/volunteer = only religious
organizations
GETTING OFF THE ROCK
10
AIDS, Apartheid and the Arts of Resistance: Theological Reflection in
South Africa
Islam in Turkey
Religion and Cultures in the Villages of India
The Church in Latin America
Pilgrimage in Italy: The Christian Experience from the Early Church to
the Catholic Reformation
Theology 101 in Rome
(hope to expand to Israel/Jordan in future)
11
SUPPORTING STUDENTS OF FAITH:
AN ON-SITE PERSPECTIVE
FROM MADRID
EERO JESURUN PH.D.
CIEE MADRID – SPAIN
Cultural Value Patterns
Sample Activities and Visits Ideas and Values
Place of Worship Sacred & profane; individual
autonomy vs. community
center; relationship with
environment & technology
Cemetery Hierarchy & inequality; respect
for spirits, saints & traditions;
memory, heroes and history
Food Market Purity, cleanliness, health and
diet; ritual and identity; wealth
and abundance; tradition
Hard “Rocks” with Students of Faith
Academics Housing & Meals
Hard “Rocks” with Students of Faith
Antisemitism, islamophobia, anti-Christian views
Free speech and religious expression
Holocaust and political correctness
Media reporting of faith-based terrorism
Microagressions and local cultural practice
Independent travel to Rome, Israel and Mecca
Thank you
Eero Jesurun: ejesurun@ciee.org
STUDENTS’ RELIGIOSITY AND ON-SITE SUPPORT IN LEGON, GHANA
KWASI GYASI-GYAMERAH, RD CIEE LEGON
Religions in Ghana
Population = 25,241,998 (July 2012 est.) Ghana Statistical
Service (2012)
More than 95% are affiliated to:
Christianity
Islam
Traditional Religion
Other (Budhism, Shintoism etc)
Less than 5% are NOT affiliated to any religion
Religion in Ghana and the US
US
Ghana
Religious Inscriptions
• Generally, there is no place for Judaism in the Ghanaian
religious sphere
• In 2012 a practicing Jew chooses Legon Ghana as the place to
study for the semester/academic year
• Uncertainties and questions start coming up:
• From the student
• From Portland and
• From Legon onsite staff as to whether the student can be
supported or not.
As a Practicing Jew…
• Student has dietary restrictions as kosher is the way to go
• No travels on certain days (Friday sundown till Saturday
sundown
• Observations of holidays:
• Yom Kippur
• Passover
• Sukkot
• Shemini Atzeret
• Simchat Torah
• Rosh Hashanah
Then……
• Student requests to do a homestay.
• There were the initial automatic responses. Such as:
• Do we want this student to come to Ghana?
• Ask her to consider other countries
• That we cannot offer a homestay etc etc
• We were stretched out of our comfort zones
Support
• However, drawing on the goals and themes of CIEE Intercultural
Communication and Leadership (ICL)
• Staff shifted perspectives and saw this an opportunity for growth
and development in intercultural competency skills
Pre-Arrival Support
• Discussion and a Training Workshop for 2 of our longstanding
hosts parents by drawing on the goals of ICL
• Self-awareness
• Cultural Literacy
• Cultural Bridging and
• Personal Leadership
Leading to granting of the homestay request
Pre-Arrival Support Continued
• Identifying places of worship within the Ghanaian society
where this student could worship.
• A small Jewish community in the city of Accra was identified
• Also the Jewish community in Sefwi, a town about 300kms
from Legon, was also a resource staff provided
• Identifying places like malls and eateries where kosher is sold
or served. Quite a few were found in the city of Accra.
On-Site Support
• Staff travelled ahead with student for overnight trips.
• Leave with student Friday morning.
• Observe Sabbath.
• Rejoin the larger CIEE group on Sunday
On-Site Support Continued
• Much as this was a challenging intercultural experience with
specific reference to religion
• Support from host families and onsite staff ensured that our
participant was able to practice their faith in a religious culture
that is significantly different without losing any sense of self,
faith nor belief system.
A TRUISM…
• This experience supports the old wise saying that “Where there is a
will, there is a way”
• The will of the student to study in Ghana
• The will of onsite staff to make it possible for the student to have a
fulfilling experience
• Led to the identification of ways and opportunities for success for the
both staff and student.
Exercise: Porcupine and the Moles
THANK
YOU
40
41

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Between a Religious Rock and a Hard Study Abroad Place: Supporting Students of Faith

  • 1. BETWEEN A RELIGIOUS ROCK AND A HARD STUDY ABROAD PLACE: SUPPORTING STUDENTS OF FAITH Thursday, November 17, 2016
  • 2. Chair & Presenters: 2 J. Scott Van Der Meid, Brandeis University Sarah E. Spencer, University of St. Thomas Eero Jesurun, CIEE Madrid Kwasi Gyasi-Gyamerah, CIEE Ghana
  • 3. MANY ROADS LEAD TO ROME..AND BEYOND Sarah E. Spencer, Director, Office of Study Abroad, University of St. Thomas
  • 4. REINVENTING STUDY ABROAD UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS • St. Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota • 10,245 total: 6,240 undergraduate; 4,005 graduate students • 50% Roman Catholic • 4-1-4 calendar
  • 5. CURRICULAR ALIGNMENT WITH RELIGION 5  Undergraduate Core Curriculum – Faith & the Catholic Tradition  Theology 101: The Christian Theological Tradition  200 level: “Faith Seeking Understanding.” Focus on a particular area of the Christian tradition, namely: the Bible, historical theology, systematic theology or moral theology  300/400 level: “Bridge Courses” Students bring theological concepts and methods into dialogue with other disciplines  Catholic Studies major/minor/Masters  Undergraduate Seminary - St. John’s Vianney (Philosophy & Catholic Studies majors)
  • 6. 6 Bernardi Campus in Rome • CORE semester (fall) • Catholic Studies (spring) • Seminarians (fall & spring) • Theology 101 in J-term
  • 7. 7
  • 8. OPPORTUNTIES FOR ROME STUDY ABROAD 8 Intensive community, formation and cultural experience of living in the heart of the Catholic Church Historic place of faith Seminarians study abroad Fulfills lots of degree requirements Faculty know and trust the curriculum Hard to say no
  • 9. LIMITATIONS FOR ROME STUDY ABROAD 9 Traditional curriculum = limited intercultural learning & engagement Community-based living and learning Language acquisition Community engagement/volunteer = only religious organizations
  • 10. GETTING OFF THE ROCK 10 AIDS, Apartheid and the Arts of Resistance: Theological Reflection in South Africa Islam in Turkey Religion and Cultures in the Villages of India The Church in Latin America Pilgrimage in Italy: The Christian Experience from the Early Church to the Catholic Reformation Theology 101 in Rome (hope to expand to Israel/Jordan in future)
  • 11. 11
  • 12. SUPPORTING STUDENTS OF FAITH: AN ON-SITE PERSPECTIVE FROM MADRID EERO JESURUN PH.D. CIEE MADRID – SPAIN
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20. Cultural Value Patterns Sample Activities and Visits Ideas and Values Place of Worship Sacred & profane; individual autonomy vs. community center; relationship with environment & technology Cemetery Hierarchy & inequality; respect for spirits, saints & traditions; memory, heroes and history Food Market Purity, cleanliness, health and diet; ritual and identity; wealth and abundance; tradition
  • 21. Hard “Rocks” with Students of Faith Academics Housing & Meals
  • 22. Hard “Rocks” with Students of Faith Antisemitism, islamophobia, anti-Christian views Free speech and religious expression Holocaust and political correctness Media reporting of faith-based terrorism Microagressions and local cultural practice Independent travel to Rome, Israel and Mecca
  • 23. Thank you Eero Jesurun: ejesurun@ciee.org
  • 24. STUDENTS’ RELIGIOSITY AND ON-SITE SUPPORT IN LEGON, GHANA KWASI GYASI-GYAMERAH, RD CIEE LEGON
  • 25. Religions in Ghana Population = 25,241,998 (July 2012 est.) Ghana Statistical Service (2012) More than 95% are affiliated to: Christianity Islam Traditional Religion Other (Budhism, Shintoism etc) Less than 5% are NOT affiliated to any religion
  • 26. Religion in Ghana and the US US Ghana
  • 28. • Generally, there is no place for Judaism in the Ghanaian religious sphere • In 2012 a practicing Jew chooses Legon Ghana as the place to study for the semester/academic year • Uncertainties and questions start coming up: • From the student • From Portland and • From Legon onsite staff as to whether the student can be supported or not.
  • 29. As a Practicing Jew… • Student has dietary restrictions as kosher is the way to go • No travels on certain days (Friday sundown till Saturday sundown • Observations of holidays: • Yom Kippur • Passover • Sukkot • Shemini Atzeret • Simchat Torah • Rosh Hashanah
  • 30. Then…… • Student requests to do a homestay.
  • 31. • There were the initial automatic responses. Such as: • Do we want this student to come to Ghana? • Ask her to consider other countries • That we cannot offer a homestay etc etc • We were stretched out of our comfort zones
  • 32. Support • However, drawing on the goals and themes of CIEE Intercultural Communication and Leadership (ICL) • Staff shifted perspectives and saw this an opportunity for growth and development in intercultural competency skills
  • 33. Pre-Arrival Support • Discussion and a Training Workshop for 2 of our longstanding hosts parents by drawing on the goals of ICL • Self-awareness • Cultural Literacy • Cultural Bridging and • Personal Leadership Leading to granting of the homestay request
  • 34. Pre-Arrival Support Continued • Identifying places of worship within the Ghanaian society where this student could worship. • A small Jewish community in the city of Accra was identified • Also the Jewish community in Sefwi, a town about 300kms from Legon, was also a resource staff provided • Identifying places like malls and eateries where kosher is sold or served. Quite a few were found in the city of Accra.
  • 35. On-Site Support • Staff travelled ahead with student for overnight trips. • Leave with student Friday morning. • Observe Sabbath. • Rejoin the larger CIEE group on Sunday
  • 36. On-Site Support Continued • Much as this was a challenging intercultural experience with specific reference to religion • Support from host families and onsite staff ensured that our participant was able to practice their faith in a religious culture that is significantly different without losing any sense of self, faith nor belief system.
  • 37. A TRUISM… • This experience supports the old wise saying that “Where there is a will, there is a way” • The will of the student to study in Ghana • The will of onsite staff to make it possible for the student to have a fulfilling experience • Led to the identification of ways and opportunities for success for the both staff and student.
  • 40. 40
  • 41. 41

Editor's Notes

  1. Scott – university’s dominant cultural group.
  2. University of St. Thomas St. Paul, Minneapolis…and Rome 6300 undergraduates 50% Roman Catholic 4-1-4 calendar – January Term
  3. Religions Religions: Christian 71.2% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 28.3%, Protestant 18.4%, Catholic 13.1%, other 11.4%), Muslim 17.6%, traditional 5.2%, other 0.8%, none 5.2% (2010 census)