Broadening the scope of international experience
By Emily Russell | Contributor
This semester Taylor University introduced two new international programs including a semester in Japan and a summer Historic Christian Belief trip for the 2016–17 academic year.
The Spencer Centre for Global Engagement’s newsletter said two Taylor students,juniorElise Whiteandsenior Kathryn Kroeker, are currently attending the Fall 2016 East Asia Institute program. This new option for study abroad is currently a pilot program. It is available fortwo fall semestersbefore being considered for full approval status.
Taylor students have the opportunity to spend a semester in Japan through a new collaboration with Tokyo Christian University, according to Jeff Miller, director of off-campus programs and assistant director of the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement.
According to the Tokyo Christian University’s website, “The East Asia Institute at Tokyo Christian University is a one-semester program that lets you meet the people in their home setting, experience for yourself their life, culture and history, and gain a deep academic knowledge of this region.”
Miller said the program is not limited to certain majors, although he said it is an especially good option for international studies majors and students with an East Asian interest or concentration.
Kroeker is taking core classes in Japanese religion, philosophy, language, culture and art. She said the campus and cafeteria are smaller than Taylor’s; but the people are welcoming, and campus is peaceful.
“I’ve wanted to visit Japan for a long time—I like manga and anime, but more than that, I love the culture and the way the language sounds,” Kroeker said. “I feel like I’ve made closer friends here than I did in my dorm back at Taylor.”
To students interested in the East Asia Institute’s program, Kroeker gives this advice: “Be prepared for random, crazy stuff. The day I arrived, I missed my train stop. Stuff happens; take it as it comes and deal with it. . . . Mostly, though, be open-minded and enjoy the experience!”
Taylor students can also partake in another opportunity: a new summer Blackboard course with a study trip for Historic Christian Belief credit.
Karolyn Manganello, program assistant for biblical studies, christian educational ministries and philosophy, said the main focus of the trip is to learn about the chief figures of the Reformation, such as Martin Luther, John Huss and Ulrich Zwingli. Students on the trip will visit several locations in Switzerland and Germany and take a side trip to Prague.
This trip is made possible through a new collaboration between Taylor and Pilgrim Tours, a program that organizes academic travel tours and arranges tour guides for group trips.
Students who wish to take the trip must register for the accompanying summer Blackboard course. The trip will then take place after the Blackboard course concludes. Those who don’t take the online course are welcome on the trip but will not receive academic credit.
Michael Harbin, professor of biblical studies, will be leading the trip. This replaces Taylor’s annual J-term trip to Turkey this year, also led by Harbin. According to Manganello, the summer trip could replace the J-term trip in the future, or the J-term trip may resume.
The current estimate cost for the Historic Christian Belief trip is $4,000.
An informational meeting will be held after Thanksgiving to provide interested students with finalized dates and costs. Trip deposits are due at the end of March, and the final payments are due in May.