Upcoming Senior Projects

Before graduating, International Studies majors have a capstone course called “Integrative project”. They combine their 50+ credit hours of courses in political science, anthropology, business, geography, language and theology in a final research paper which examines a certain phenomenon in their host culture. Mason Graves and Jelissa Myers both spent a semester in Spain, where they collected data on contemporary problems that Spaniards face. This month, both Mason and Jelissa will be presenting their research:

  • Mason Graves: 1pm, Monday, April 15 in the student theater, will be presenting on the changing values in Spain due to globalization.
  • Jelissa Myers: 11am, Tuesday, April 16 in the student theater, will be comparing Muslim and Catholic family structures and values in Spain with those of the typical American family.

Students in “Global Social responsibility” help build a Habitat house in Jackson

Which development efforts are sustainable and holistic? Which ones are just born out of a savior complex, create dependency and cause demoralization? Certainly, Habitat for Humanity’s model is one which recognizes the capacity of lower income people to improve their situation. Did you know that owners of Habitat houses must finance their homes (interest free) and put in “sweat equity hours” to construct their own home as well as other Habitat houses?

These themes- dependency, capacity building, sustainability- and our biblical mandate to help the widow, orphan, foreigner and poor (plus engage in political advocacy for their needs) are the content of the Global Social Responsibility Course. The course also requires a field trip with service hours related to community development. Pictured here are some students in the course who helped paint a Habitat house in Jackson this month, along with Dr. Nehrbass.

Spring Get-together for International Studies majors

Many of the international studies majors met today for a free lunch, where they discussed when, where, and with whom they’ll be doing their international internship or studies abroad. Countries people are looking at visiting: Korea, Israel, Honduras, and other parts of Latin America.

We also announced the new major: Intercultural Studies; and we talked about courses coming up in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Seniors Mason Graves, Jelissa Myers and Sara Ornelas gave advice to their classmates about planning a study abroad trip.

Did you know that people who are not majoring in International Studies can also go abroad? We have students from other majors going to Ireland and the UK this academic year.

Belhaven International Studies Grad speaks on agricultural mission in Uganda

While Stephen Shelt was attendiStephen Sheltng Belhaven, he went to Urbana 06, where he got fired up about missions in Africa. He decided to major in International Studies, and did his internship in Uganda with Africa Inland Mission (AIM). After graduation, he went back with AIM for a two year mission. But he needed to have some practical skills to offer the Ugandans- so AIM trained Stephen in sustainable  agricultural techniques.

Stephen explained to the Globalization and Culture class last night that the goal wasn’t just to teach people about crop rotation and leaving land fallow- but to train Ugandan nationals who can take up the cause and continue training their own countrymen.

I asked Stephen if agricultural training was a platform for sharing the gospel, or was seen as a valid end in and of itself. “Both” he said. Hearing Stephen talk, I could tell that AIM has developed a robust theology of work, farming, and  environmental stewardship.

Stephen plans to receive more agricultural experience and return to somewhere in the developing world to continue his agricultural ministry.

“They have a word for it”

Have you ever wanted to find the right word for a political party that exists expressely to rip off the public? The Dutch have a word for that: plunderbund. Or do you know any Frioleros? That’s Spanish for “people who are particularly sensitive to cold weather.” For my lectures on cross-cultural communication, I’ve been reading a 1988 called They Have a word for it which contains hundreds of words you WISHED you could say in English, but there’s no precise term.

Well it turns out that www.betterthanenglish.com has a number of these strange and entertaining (and informative) words. New words are being added to the website all the time, too. The most recent addition is yoisho, a Japansese word that has no meaning at all, but which people say when they plop down on the couch at the end of a hard day. I wonder if the Japanese say “yoisho” and then enter a Bettschwere (German, for “a state of consciousness too ponderous for anything but sleep.”