Five William Woods University students and two faculty members are traveling to Peru March 13-21 as part of the class, “Woods Around the World.”
The class is a cultural study that focuses on the society of Peru. It is multi-cultural, interdisciplinary, collaborative and service-based in its curricular approach. Issues such as religion, media, economics, health, human rights and arts are all studied before the students see the society first-hand.
“Our class aims at globalizing the education of our students so that they gain valuable knowledge about the world and are better equipped for the future,” the Rev. Travis Tamerius, university chaplain and one of the organizers, said.
“In the class and on the trip we focus on what happens when individuals and cultures encounter differences and consider the possible outcomes of assimilation, annihilation, or mutual exchange and appreciation.”
Students selected to participate are Eric Dunn, an American Sign Language interpreting/pre-med major from Bowling Green, Mo.; Bryn Hudson, a business administration and theatre major from Carrolton, Texas; Katie Minnis, an equestrian science major from Manchester, Mo.; Michelle Proffitt, a communications and American Sign Language interpreting major from Warren, Ohio, and Jamie Strobel, a social work major from Berger, Mo.
“I’m thrilled that our students will have the opportunity to travel out of the country and see the wider world,” Tamerius said. “A few have never seen the ocean. Now they will have an opportunity to see the ocean that Balboa and Pizarro first witnessed in 1513.”
Dunn is eager for the trip because it means gaining experience.
“I’ve never really been out of the country. I’m really looking forward to gaining a broader understanding of the world and of different cultures, especially for future travels I have planned.”
Paul Clervi, professor of art and chair of the division of arts and science, will accompany the students on the trip and is excited about what they will gain from the experience.
“They will get a few days to mix with a totally different cultural environment,” Clervi said. “The students have been doing reports about it; now they get to make direct observations and interact.”
Tamerius added, “Our trip is timely. Macchu Picchu was just named one of the new seven wonders of the world. In addition, the Incas had one of the most impressive civilizations in the history of the Americas. Our students will be able to step back in time and consider how what happened then has shaped what is happening today.”
William Woods University received a $10,000 grant for the project from the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). WWU also received $5,000 from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation.